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Showing posts from March, 2013

je ne sais quoi

We attended the Easter service this morning at First United in downtown Orlando. This marks the second successive Easter we've attended, and two years of attending First United, on a semi-regular basis. This year I brought the E-M5 with the PL 1.4/25mm attached. I wanted to walk around before the service and see if I could practice candid photography. I had a general idea what I wanted, but I can't say I achieved it.

Regardless, I still like these two out of the group. They won't win any awards, but regardless, I love the light, the color, the interesting expressions and poses of the choristers waiting for the service to start. I opened the 25mm to f/1.4 for a softer, more romantic[1] quality across the frame. I let the E-M5 pick the shutter and the ISO.

They're not particularly sharp, especially if you pixel-peep. And I don't care. There's enough of a hint of sharpness and detail to satisfy the eye as well as the soul of the viewer. More than anything I love …

easter 2013

Meanwhile, Francis decried a greedy affluent world looking for `'easy gain," the Associated Press reported, also condemned the "iniquitous exploitation of natural resources".

The former Argentine former cardinal, who has made defense of nature an early hallmark of his pontificate, urged everyone to be "guardians" of creation. From "Pope Francis calls for world peace and solution to Korea crisis in Easter Sunday Mass", the global post.

I didn't realize until I went back and searched, but it was exactly a year ago today when I wrote "Paving Paradise, Inc." That's when I discovered the beginning construction of a bridge crossing I-4 from Palm Parkway to the south end of International Drive, just north of the Orlando Premium Outlets. I've since pieced together that developers are building more hotel rooms for tourists visiting Disney World, which is very close to where the new bridge ties into Palm Parkway. The bridge and subse…

my florida camera

I have discovered a little corner of photographic heaven on my Olympus E-M5. It's called the key-line art filter. I came across it quite by accident, flipping through the art filters one after another, trying each one out. When I finally selected this one it was, for me, utterly fun. Freeing. I've been using it through the afternoon and evening.

For me the filter is a bit like expressionism in a can (see "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, for example) combined with the works of Leroy Neiman and the rotoscope effect of the movie "A Scanner Darkly." I find the art filter's effect marvelous. All of these were taken from late afternoon until early evening and come straight out of the camera. I used Olympus Viewer 2 to resize the JPEGs.

Some of the techniques I used for a number of these exposures was to deliberately defocus the 17mm lens on the E-M5. Out-of-focus areas wound up looking rather creamy and pure of color. The posterization effect still gives the lo…

chrome

I have been going back through my now sizable photo collection on Flickr, which contains almost 5,000 photographs stretching back to April 2006. I go back and look at what I've taken, many times surprised by what I find in the collection. I'm surprised because I forgot I took them, doubly surprised that I would have taken such a photograph. Such as these two found photos in this blog posting.

I do remember what I was doing at the time when I took these. Back in July of last year my wife and I were up around the Mt. Dora area sightseeing and we stopped at a local spot for lunch, The Palm Tree Grill. I was wondering around with the E-P2, my first Pen, and the Panasonic Leica 25mm.

The Harley I used for the chrome study was parked on North Donnelly Street, just a half block down from the Grill. I remember taking a number of photos of the bike, trying various angles and exposures, not sure about any of them.

We weren't parked near the restaurant, but instead in a parking lot …

fickle

Photographers are as fickle a bunch as you'll ever deal with. We can never settle down with any given camera or lens before we grow tired of its charms and yearn for something newer, fresher, more attractive and exciting to us. Take as an example my affair with the M.Zuiko 2.8/17mm.

I've written about the 17mm in the past. The copy you see mounted on the E-PL1 above is my second. The first copy I had was silver. I purchased it because of its small silver size and because it was considerably cheaper than the Panasonic 1.7/20mm at the time. I used it quite a bit on my E-P2 until one day its front cosmetic element fell off into a Boston street back in March of 2011.

The lens didn't stop working, but it fell out of favor when it lost a bit of itself. I was a fool to feel that way, but a friend wanted a µ4:3rds 17mm to play with so I sold him that one for $100, less than half what I'd paid for it a year before. And then a short time later I went out and got this copy, but …

the rain - rain - rain came down - down - down

The rain rain rain came down down down
In rushing, rising riv'lets,
'Til the river crept out of it's bed
And crept right into Piglet's!
Poor Piglet, he was frightened,
With quite a rightful fright.
And so, in desperation
A message he did write.

When the girls, who are now in their 20s, were in elementary school, their favorite cartoon character was Winnie the Pooh. This song, first heard by the girls in the Disney movie "Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day," was an immediate hit. The youngest identified with Piglet, and so the song took on an even more special meaning for her. They loved the story in the song and the alliteration of the lyrics.

After all these years every time the rains come and the little creatures all come to camp around me until the weather passes, I still hear this snatch of song play in my inner ear.

Although no load thunder was heard this early in the season, the wind and rain kept banging tree branches around the house and blowing them onto …

standards, fairness, and openess

Every once in a while (far less than I should) I mosey over to Wolfgang Lonien's blog and check a different photographer's perspective from half way around the world.

Literally.

Wolfgang lives in Germany and views the world through a far different cultural lens than I. On the majority of issues I find we are in surprisingly close agreement (which I think goes to show, perhaps a little unfortunately, the over-homogenisation of world cultures). One of those issues we seem to agree on concerns technological openness, in this case concerning digital cameras and post processing software.

Wolfgang is a strong believer in open systems and open software. He practices what he preaches, choosing to use Debian at home and supporting Redhat where he works. At home he uses dcraw to process his raw images from his Olympus cameras, feeding the results into RawTherapee. Both of these applications are open source software.

Wolfgang noted in one of his latest posts, "Fuji is the new Leica

a bit of a changeup

You're looking at a screenshot from my Nexus 7, Google's 7" reference Android tablet. It's a screenshot of my blog with the tablet in its default portrait orientation.

I changed my blog's default layout from 'magazine' to 'classic' because 'classic' displays best on the tablet. In magazine mode the blog crammed everything onto the page, regardless of its orientation. It made it very difficult to read and navagate. If you selected a story, it made it very hard to scroll up the story. If I may borrow a phrase and mangle it a bit, magazine layout is very finger unfriendly, while classic isn't. This layout also has the added benefit of showing the blog's navigation bar off to the right. There's just a smidge of irony in this selection of classic, as it was never originally designed for touch in mind, but for an earlier time on the web when simplicity was held in higher regard.

I changed up the color a bit from tan to green. It'…

Coming Back Around Again

For some reason March of this year has been rather tough to get through. Lots of work, lots of problems (both professional and personal). All of March's hurdles notwithstanding, I decided to grab all the Pens and all the lenses and even the Sony 5N and go out and photograph - something. While we ran our errands I stopped and photographed as well as photographed where we normally stopped, coming up with this eclectic collection of snapshots.

For today's use I selected the Olympus E-M5 with the Panasonic 2.5/14mm and the Olympus E-PL2 with the Panasonic 1.4/25mm. Both cameras were set to the dramatic art filter, and I'd further tweaked the E-PL2's dramatic filter by adding the border effect. I came across the van at the top on the way to our local Whole Foods. I'd seen it for several weeks parked on the side of the road. I assume it was there because of Easter, and the owner's desire to publicly express their faith. This is the second large vehicle I've seen…

It's a World of Colour

Whether it's stark colors and sharp edges or muted, rich colors that remind me of the old Renaissance masters, the world is full of color, even if those colors border on black and white. That does not mean it's a black and white world. Black and white is an artificiality we imposed on our world because that's all we had for the most part, especially in early photography. From black and white prints in old newspapers, to monochrome photographs stretching back to the late eighteenth century, black and white was de rigueur. Color was the very rare exception.

My first camera was an Instamatic 104. The first photos to come out of it were black and white. When I started developing film on my own it was Tri-X, both 35mm and 120/220. Color, while certainly available, was expensive and required someone else to process and print, adding to the cost. That all changed with digital. All of a sudden I had the ability to work with color to a degree I never even had with film-and-paper b…

The Menagerie

All taken with the E-M5 and the M.Zuiko 14-42mm II kit zoom. The E-M5's quick focus, touch screen, and very quiet operation allowed me to get close enough to the animals for the captures. That, and the high ISO performance of the sensor (Ruby at the top and Lucy at the bottom are ISO 3200). The E-M5 is, without a doubt, the best Olympus digital camera I've ever owned, 4:3rds or µ4:3rds. And the consumer zooms I've used, specifically the 14-42mm and 40-150mm, have done excellent yeoman work, especially on the E-M5 body.

This is the digital camera that Olympus has always been capable of producing (see the OM-1), and the digital camera they should have produced before they did. I sincerely hope Olympus produces more cameras like the E-M5, but more importantly, I hope Olympus survives to produce more like the E-M5.

Hall & Oates

So it's a new Bands, Brew and BBQ concert season at Sea World, and there's at least three acts my wife wants to go and see. The first act she wanted to see was this past Saturday, Hall & Oates. For those too young to know who they are, Daryl Hall and John Oates are a rock duo who made were best known from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Like many rock acts they faded a bit into the background as different rock fads came and went. And like many other rock acts that are still capable, they're touring around the country. Many of them are touring through Sea World in Orlando.

The concert started promptly at 4pm, and finished right at 5. The band came back for three more encore numbers, much to a very appreciative crowd. The music and act was tight and very well done. The backing musicians were excellent, especially the sax player and the third guitar player (to the left). The playing was tight, with only a few (minor) off-notes during the entire set. I kind of miss the ro…