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Friday, December 31, 2010

Digital Pinhole Photography

Until recently I never thought that I would use any of the "digital modes" available on a digicam. For me, I shoot in RAW and Aperture Priority and usually adjust the final exposures in Manual Mode. That was until I started using the Panasonic Lumix LX5 and said, What the Hell?" and started playing around in the various creative options offered in camera. Several of the posts below were shot in Film Grain mode. This, in Pinhole, creates that effect with a pale center and surrounding vignette. This old corn shed is in the woods way behind our house on a snowshoe trip the other morning. I shot it in 5 or 6 different modes and liked this one the best. Jeff

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jack's Foot

Emotional impact. Think about that when deciding on what you are seeing in the viewfinder. Images that elicit a response from the viewer often are one's best images. Here is the foot of Jack, our first grandson, in my hand. Jack, a vibrant 150% healthy 7 year old, was born 6 weeks prematurely weighing 5 pounds. When I held him for the first time at NYU Medical Center, I was overwhelmed by emotion and then noted his foot in my hand. Wow, this was a foot, a tiny foot, the size of a full term infant's hand! With the help of our terrific son Ari, we composed this image with a Canon G2 digicam. The fold out and twistable LCD really helped to frame the image. Setting was P mode and image was converted to B&W in Photoshop with some corner vignetting added to throw the viewer's eye toward the central, important part of the image. Jeff

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The Village of Canajoharie, home of Beechnut is slowing dying. Beechnut is relocating 20 miles away to replace their 100 year old plant and slowly a ghost town is forming. Wander around and you see abandoned factories, buildings and old mills. I saw this scene last week and was struck by the drabness, decay and coldness of the winter's day. I could have shot it in color as the buildings were red brick and paint, but the grayness of the day and its "mood" directed me to shoot in a high grain monochrome called "Film Grain" on the Panasonic Lumix LX5. Wide angle of 24mm captured the scene. The camera chose the f stop. With multifunction modes in newer digital cameras you can choose settings that reflect yours and the scene's mood. Jeff

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hibiscus in B&W

Macro-photography. There are different ways to approach this from dedicated macro lenses, extension tubes, screw on macro filters or a damn good compact camera that has a close up Macro feature. We have this hibiscus plant in the house and it produces beautiful large deep red flowers, For this, I used a Panasonic Lumix LX5 pro level compact in macro mode. I shot a variety of images in color and monochrome. The best result was with one of the "My Color" modes, "Film Grain" which reproduces a high contrast grainy image reminiscent of B&W ISO 3200 films of the past. This B&W shot had so much more drama than the color ones. ISO was 1600, Shutter 10/2500sec and f stop 2.4 with focus on the stamen end. Jeff

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sharon Springs Boilers

Sharon Springs New York. Once a 20th century destination spot for those seeking the healing spring baths and waters, now a village trying to come back, but without the Springs. The old Spring houses and baths are in ruinous decay. These are the spring boilers that once warmed the sulfuric spring water for the healing baths. This was shot on my new Lumix LX5, an extremely versatile pro-level compact that shoots raw as well as a number of creative modes. I elected for this shot to use "Film Grain" to create the mood I was feeling in the boiler house ( yes, I trespassed) and at a wide angle- 24mm- to create the depth I wanted. The camera set the ISO to 1600 in this mode. The gritty grain matched the gritty interior. The image was developed in iPhoto to bring out the shadow detail and bring down the bright areas on the boilers. Jeff

Friday, December 17, 2010


Ah Venice. It's beauty, canals, people and food. This is a travel shot, but a travel shot with good light, symmetry and balance. Note the careful placement of the triple lantern in the lower right third. I waited for the woman to walk into the scene and fired the shutter when she was near the middle of the second arch, balancing the lamp post. If she was in front of an arch support, it would have been distracting. It was early morning, just past sunrise, creating a soft glowing light. As an added bonus, the lamp lights were still on. Taken with a MF Minolta Autocord TLR using Fuji Reala print film. Shutter 1/100 sec at f5.6.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Light and Shadow in Old Montreal

Photographs are waiting to be captured. Equipment is often secondary. My wife and I were visiting Old Montreal about 20 years ago. It was a drizzly day which created great reflections off the stone paving. Looking for a scene I immediately noticed this old carriage portal to an enclosed home-compound. We look for contrasts in light and the dark walls , and this stone floor coupled with the bright light beyond created a great shot. But, it needed a human element. Jeanette, wearing a red raincoat with black umbrella was the the perfect subject. Then I was using a Canon QL17 film rangefinder with a little fill flash on top. I composed vertically and had her slowly walk in . Just before the transition is where I fired the camera with a little flash to create some increased reflection from the floor and lighten up the walls.
Enjoy, Jeff

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Punk Rocker

Get close, fill your frame and look for the dramatic. I saw this band player at a Harley Rally. We struck up a conversation and he gave me permission to photograph his hands. I was intrigued by the tattoos and jewelry. The original shot was in color, but I changed it to a Sepia in PS. Color sometimes can detract from a strong graphic image, so a monochrome conversion works better. Shot with a Sony F828 in AWB, no flash.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I had the opportunity to photograph some families this weekend. I want to go over this simple portrait set up with you. The camera was a Konica Minolta 7D DSLR. I used 2 manual 5400HS Minolta flashes shooting through white umbrellas about 5 feet front left and right angles at 45 degrees to the subjects. Each umbrella was about 7 feet high and angled downward toward the subjects. Note the painted Muslin backdrop which has no elements to detract from the main subjects. The flashes were fired remotely with radio controlled transmitter mounted on the flash shoe and receivers on the foot of each flash. The left flash fired at full power and the right (to the photographer) fired at 1/2 power to give a pleasing ratio of main light and fill light. Thus the facial modeling needed to avoid a flat light look. The camera was set at ISO 100, f8, 1/8oth second shutter. The advantage of digital is that one can easily adjust the exposure by varying one of these 3 factors. Certainly integrated TTL flash systems with camera make this easy, but as demonstrated, not necessary. Jeff

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jay Street Reflections

Had to try out my new Panasonic Lumix LX5 tonight. These compact pro- level cameras get better and better. I wanted a professional compact to carry on my belt. This camera has had great reviews. I was wandering around Jay St. in Schenectady tonight after the rain looking for reflections of the neon signs. This was perfect, a red reflection, from a red sign in a puddle on dark stone pavings. Note the elements of design, the color and contrast. I did a little adjusting of levels and cropping in iPhoto. The image was taken at ISO 400, aperture priority, no flash and at 1/13 sec, hand-held. Ah, the joys of an image stabilized camera. Jeff