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Archive for May, 2011

The first two shots were taken with my wife’s tiny Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital Elph. The last time I visited Ceres Nature Reserve I wished I had a color camera along. It was overcast and the vegetation was vibrant with color. Since I don’t have a digital camera, I’m experimenting with the little Canon.

Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS @ f2.8 -- Click to enlarge

This is a close in shot of one of my mom’s rose bushes. It was raining (not hard). I switched the camera to manual and underexposed by -1EV to get better color saturation.

Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS @ f2.8 -- Click to enlarge

Here’s an even closer shot of a different rose. This time I underexposed by -2/3EV. I’m satisfied enough with these images that I’ll continue playing with my wife’s camera.

S-M-C Tak @ f4.0 - Ilford FP4+ -- Click to enlarge

My main interest is B&W film photography. The photo of mom’s orchids I posted two weeks ago had two buds that opened last week so I made a new image using the same camera and lens (S-M-C Takumar 50/1.4). I used Ilford FP4+ film this time and stopped down to f4.0 — enough to get more of the blooms in focus yet blur the background nicely. It worked. This is a much better photo.

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The tide was out when I took mom to Red Bank Battlefield park for another visit yesterday. The day was hot and hazy but with a nice breeze coming off the Delaware River. Mom sat on a bench enjoying the view while I wandered along the bank looking for interesting stuff to photograph.

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Well here’s some big stuff left behind by the river when the tide went out. After I shot this frame I said to myself “Come on John, you can do better than this.”

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So I did. Sometimes an image finds you. This one found me. It was the next frame and the last one on the roll of film. I really like the tones, textures and shapes in this photo.

I processed the film this morning and scanned after supper. I was eager to see what kind of images I got from my latest experiment. I used my Bessaflex with my SMC Takumar 50/1.4 lens (I love this lens) loaded with Ilford FP4+ instead of the high speed film I usually load into this camera.

FP4 has rich tonality and nice tight grain. I think the film pairs nicely with my 50/1.4. I stopped down to 5.6…enough, but not too far.

I had my Nikon F3HP, 85mm lens loaded with Fuji Acros film along and took a few shots. It will be interesting to compare the results when I finish the roll.

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Let’s hop on the way back machine and journey back to a sunny Philly day in 1971 for a series of vignettes of the people waiting for the route 31 bus at 15th and Ranstead Streets on the west side of City Hall.

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This young man relaxes on one of the ‘comfort’ seats while he waits for the bus. You takin’ my picture? Yep. I like the eye contact here and the bank window backdrop reflecting the street scene.

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My turn on the milk crate. Are you checking out the pants on this kid? Or the ‘ahem — balloon’ he’s blowing up? More eye contact and the look from the guy in the suit. Ah, the joys of street photography.

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I guess the young guy got tired of sitting on the milk crate. He’s looking bored here. I’m not sure of the sequence after all these years but this one works best for my story. You get a glimpse of more folks standing around the corner.

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At the corner looking down Ranstead Street. I like this shot because there’s a good dose of humanity here. In fact, I think this is the best image in the series.

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The bus finally arrived. Notice how the people are boarding in an orderly, civilized fashion? And the bus…an oldie but goodie with route 31 clearly visible. No way could I have remembered which bus without that clue.

This series is from the same roll of film as the shot of Nathan’s Famous I published two weeks ago. I have a few more that I’ll post over the next weeks.

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I went for a morning walk along the 911 Trail behind Chestnut Branch Park a couple weeks ago. It was mid-morning and the light was nice.

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This close-up of a tree stump on the side of the trail came from the same roll of film as last week’s orchid image. I used the same 50mm lens — playing with light, textures and perspective. I got as close as I could for this shot.

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One day last week Maddy was ‘didn’t take her nap, late afternoon sleepy and cranky’ so I took Maddy and Livvy (our twin granddaughters) out in the yard so we could play. I was playing musical portrait lenses, switching back and forth among an 85mm prime and two zooms (35-135 and 75-150) on one of my Nikons.

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I crouched down near the back of the yard where I had taken some nice late afternoon pics last year and there she was, Cali, my wife’s cat tucked away under the bushes soaking up late afternoon sun, enjoying a cat nap. Just the kind of light I hoped for so I grabbed a quick shot and moved away because The girls were ‘helping’ and I didn’t want to disturb the cat.

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Here’s a shot of the girls on the other side of the yard admiring the flowers on the azalea bush. That’s Livvy reaching for the flowers. Maddy was standing behind wide awake, cranky gone and forgotten. I took this photo, Maddy’s Magic Moment in the Sun two frames later.

The cat sleeping and the twins playing — Suchness or thusness. Words are inadequate so I tried capturing their suchness (simply being cat or children) in these two images.

I forget which lens was which. The 35-135AF is too heavy (and slow) and the 85 too limiting. I do like that 75-150 zoom. I use it (along with a 3T or 4T two element close up lens) for all of my macro work. The lens is something of a cult classic.

The Nikon 75-150 E lens is a great portrait lens. It’s a 3.5 constant aperture zoom with a single push-pull to zoom and twist to focus ring. I’ve had the lens for about 7 or 8 years now. It took almost two years of patient waiting to find (and win) a good sample on that auction site. You know the one I mean.

I think I’ll mount the 75-150 on one of my Nikons next time I visit Ceres. I took the 85mm/2.0 last week because the morning was overcast and I needed the faster lens. Switching lenses is a pain in the butt so I carried my Bessaflex with 50mm mounted as well. I’d rather carry two cameras than fuss with lens changes. Stay tuned.

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Sky tickles still water
Smiles ripple.
Spring — how wonderful.

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Do you want to go outside? These words transformed tired and cranky into Maddy’s magic moment in the sun. What is it about going outside to play that makes kids forget how tired they were?

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You just need to be ready when the sun breaks through the clouds. I took Maddy and Livvy out into our backyard so we could play (me too — I grabbed one of my cameras with a longer zoom lens attached). I guess I was ready and a little bit lucky when I caught this magic moment on film. Isn’t Maddy beautiful.

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