Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

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I finally bought a digital camera that I can like, a FujiFilm X10. My price point for a good enough digital camera was around $500. Part of me wanted a dslr, another part wanted a Leica (yeah right!) and another part of me wanted to keep things simple by using my new smart phone (yeah I finally got one of those too).

When Fuji released the X20 the street price of the older X10 dropped. I couldn’t resist the $299 sale price on B&H a few weeks ago so I bought one. Here’s one of my first shots taken during an early snow we had last week. I opened the front door and stepped out for this shot.

This camera is so retro it has a threaded cable release socket in the shutter release just like the film cameras I so love. I’m not giving up on film, I just want the convenience of an excellent digital camera that fits into my coat pocket. The X10 is a good start.

Fuji knows film and their film simulation modes are excellent. I took about 100 photos over the Christmas holidays and 25 are worth keeping. I’ll probably post a few over the next week or so.

I’m still learning how to get the most out of my new camera. I’ll figure it out while having some fun.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

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I bought two rolls of Kodak Ektar color film in early spring with the idea that I would dust off my tripod and capture lots of macro images of flowers and other lovely things. Other stuff has a way of intruding on life so I didn’t get lots of images this year but I did get one.


Click anywhere on the image to enlarge.

Nice to know that I can still do color and if I can only manage one image all spring and summer, that one image had better be good and this one makes me happy.

Back in the olden times when film was king and I was still working, I worked with color almost exclusively. I used Fuji color transparency exclusively because I had access to a great lab where I worked. I don’t use color much these days because I prefer B&W for a number of reasons. Decent color labs are all but gone now so, when I do use color I use Ektar color print film.

Today’s Ektar is a modern implementation that’s optimized for scanning. Color negative film can be a bitch to get the colors right but I used a neat trick when I scanned using VueScan.

You know that piece of unexposed film on the end of the roll of negatives? Yes that one. Load it into your scanner and preview the frame. Click on input then scroll down and check off lock film exposure. Run preview again, scroll down again, this time to lock film base color.

Now VueScan knows how to expose the rest of the roll but more importantly renders colors correctly.

Ektar is cheaper than color transparency film and I get the film processed by Mpix for $6.65. And I send the film in the mail using free mailers provided by Mpix. Ektar is great color film and I have another roll. The first roll took half a year. I wonder how long it might take me to shoot the second roll?

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Here are the rest of the photos that I took in Chestnut Branch Park last month. These four images are from the same roll of Ilford FP4+ as the last few pictures I posted this month.

01jun13_002-1 01jun13_004-1 01jun13_005-1 01jun13_006-1

I took the first photo as I was walking along the paved path leading to the 911 trail entrance (around the bend on the right).

The shapes, textures and light caught my eye here as I slowly wandered along the trail so I snapped the second photo.

The third  picture is another image with gnarly forms, some nice textures, light and shadows.

I love the textures and forms made by the trees in the forest. Add the right kind of light (and shadows) and you might get a decent photo. This last photo is also the last from this roll of film. Better get my butt out and on the trail again soon.

I’m taking some people pics today. Our family is gathering later this afternoon to help my neice Mary celebrate her graduation from high school. How about a hot dog in one hand and my camera in the other. Promise I won’t get mustard on the camera like I did once before.

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I selected another image from the same 24 exposure roll of Ilford FP4+ that yielded the image of Maddy and Livvy a few weeks back. This time it’s one of the photos I took during a short morning walk in Chestnut Branch Park in May.


Black and White photography needs contrast and this image has just the right mixture of light and shadow to bring the photo to life. The contrast transforms and renders the scene with lovely light, shadow, forms, textures and depth. I like it.

Been awhile since I’ve gotten out for a walk in the park. Soon, John, soon. Maybe if I get off my butt and swing my kettle bells more I’d build up my stamina so I can walk longer and farther without my legs giving me the hurts. Actually, I did swing a set while thinking about what I wanted to write. Now all I need do is repeat the set(s) in another day or two.

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Tracy bought a flat of flowers (impatiens) for Livvy and Maddy to plant in our yard. I couldn’t miss this opportunity to photograph the girls and their flowers in glorious monochrome.


I took this shot earlier this week. It can take me weeks to use a 24 exposure roll of film. I started the roll this image came from weeks ago with half a dozen or so pics I took during a morning walk in the park.

Another half dozen or so shots of the twins took me to frame 15. Pictures of my neice Mary in her prom dress finished the roll. I developed the film this morning (Saturday)and hung it to dry for six or seven hours in the shower stall. I scanned and edited after dinner.

Back to my subjects. Livvy and Maddy had a lovely time planting their flower garden (with a lot of help from Tracy). Now let’s see how patient they are waiting impatiently for their impatiens to bloom.

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Good Lord! It’s been over a month since I posted anything on Aware Writer. I don’t have any new images but that’s not an excuse. I poked about in my archives and found an image that I made a few years ago in our back yard.


Click on the photo to view larger image

This is a shot of a branch from a small Japanese maple. The original came from a roll of color transparency film, but I thought the photo would be better as monochrome so I converted it. I like the photo but never posted it because there was (please note past tense here) a nasty blown highlight and a few other smaller blown highlights (in the wrong places). I looked at the image again. Hey, I can fix that and I did.

The eye is drawn to lighter tones in a photo which is why the blown highlight (pure white with no texture) ruined the image. The picture came to life once I got rid of the distractions.

The image is peaceful with a kind of Zen feeling — I like it.

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More Textures

Here are a few more images from the same roll of film as last week.


This was taken at the entrance to the Ceres Nature Preserve one morning after a light snowfall the night before.


This is an image of a piece of fallen tree. The textures interested me so I took a picture. Nothing special here though.


Here’s a nicer image of fallen trees and texture with a dash of light thrown in.

The bottom two images were taken in Chestnut Branch Park on the 911 trail behind all the playing fields. The first was the frame before last week’s image and the second was the frame after.

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I went for a short walk in the woods in Chestnut Branch Park a few weeks ago. Of course I had one of my cameras with me. The day was bright and sunny. I took four pictures. This one is the winner.


I operate on instinct when I’m out taking pictures. I see things that interest me and when I’m in the zone, my design mind takes over and I snap a photo. Not to say I don’t move about framing and re-framing to get just the right image. That’s part of the fun of photography. How do I know when I’ve gotten it right and it’s time to press the shutter? I go by feel, I just “know” when to press the shutter.

This was one of those times when my knowing how to frame and when to press the shutter worked and I got a quality image.

I went for the light and got just what I wanted in this image. The lovely side lighting layers the light and brings out the textures of the tree stumps. My choice of focal length and aperture renders the foreground and background softly while the stumps are in sharp focus. This image pleases me.

My Nikon 8008s has become my workhorse for walk about shooting. I used an uncommon lens, the Nikon 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5 AF Zoom-Nikkor. This is one heavy lens but I love the focal length range, goes from wide-normal to moderate-tele in a single lens. Can’t fault the sharpness of this lens either.

When I want to travel lighter (most of the time) I mount my 35mm f/2.8 AF Nikkor, the only lens in my collection that I bought new.

Here we are, well into the digital age and I cling to my film cameras. I am not a Luddite who rants and raves about digital vs. film photography. I accumulated a nice collection of high quality film equipment that still works and since I’m retired with a fixed income, I use what I have because I don’t have the resources to match the level of quality with new digital equipment (and the necessary computer resources to go with a high end digital camera).

I thought about buying a mid-range digital camera a few weeks back, but even with a price reduction the camera alone costs $799. I compromised and bought two rolls of Kodak Ektar color print film instead for $9.98. Add $7.00 (round number) for processing each roll and my total comes to $24 (rounded again). I’ll load the Ektar into my flagship camera, my F3HP. I want to shoot a few rolls of color macros of flowers and other fun, fresh things. It’s Spring!!

Wow, I really ran off at the mouth here today. Take another look at today’s image. I’m happy with this one.

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Happy Easter. I finished off a roll of film today that I will process during the week. In the meantime, here are two images from the last roll of film that I shot and developed in Feb.


Whenever I go to Ceres and take the ridge trail, I pass by this collection of fallen trees, parts of trees, etc. I like the images and have probably taken dozens at this spot over the past few years. Here’s another.


I zoomed (with my feets) to get a different perspective on this one.

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I finally got out for a visit to Ceres and the woods a few weeks ago. There was a dusting of new snow on the ground and I was eager for a short hike. Here are a few images from that visit.




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