One additional quickie for you tonight. This is somewhat of a followup to my original Subie Doo post a few months back. This was taken a short while after the prior image when I was out for another evening drive. The camera this time was my trusty Nikon F4s with some Kentmere 400 loaded, and the location was a parking space next to a nearby construction company’s warehouse.
Earlier this year I had a chance to go out to Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park in Nelson Township, Ohio, which is about an hour away from where I live. This was a park that was mentioned to me by one of my co-workers as somewhere rather unique in the area and worth taking a little trip to go see, so when I had a free day to myself I grabbed some cameras and set out to go take a look.
According to the park’s guide, these sandstone ledges were created by receding glaciers and are some of the only ledges still exposed in the area. Sizes of the rocks very, but some are large enough to create 30-40′ cliffs that can be quite dangerous if you get too close. As an example, the waterfall in the above picture is about 40′ high with the massive angled boulder nearly as large. As such, it’s very easy to feel very small when walking around the park.
Apart from the ledges, there is also a wide variety of plant and animal life to be found in the park, which is rather small in overall size at approximately 167 acres. You can see a variety of trees that are somewhat unique to the area, plus in the Spring there is a large number of wildflowers to be seen. There are also two waterfalls in the park, as well as a variety of natural caverns made by the ledges themselves. Were you to explore the entire park in a day, you could probably do so in about 2-3 hours, but even if you only have an hour or so to kill, that’s still enough time to get a good feel for the site and what it has to offer.
Camera-wise, I took two cameras with me on this visit. One was a Canon 70D, which produced the bulk of the photos here, and the other was a Pentax 645, which had a partially used roll of B&W Arista EDU film in it still (sorry, don’t remember the speed, but likely either 200 or 400). Both cameras produced fine results, but I only used the Pentax for the waterfall shown above, which I’ll include below. Unfortunately, because it was early Spring when I went, the trees were still bare and so the images are a bit stark, but even so they give a good feel for the place, though it’s a bit hard to capture the overall scale of the scenery as there are no particular references to go by apart from other visitors, of which were few at the time I was there.
No matter though, take a look at the photos below and if you’re ever in the area, I highly suggest taking a few hours to stop by the Ledges and do a bit of exploring. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
This is a follow-up post to a couple of prior posts I made a while back, though ironically it’s kind of a prequel as these images were taken earlier than the images in the older posts (Phipps Conservatory de Mono & Phipps Conservatory de Mono Due).
If you can’t tell already, we go to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA a fair bit. We have a family membership there and find it’s always an enjoyable way to relax when we have nothing better to do. In particular, it’s great when the weather’s terrible as it’s all indoors and naturally comfortable as a result. This is also helpful when I’m in Pittsburgh for one of my Ag Works meetings nearby and the weather sucks out.
It was on one of these days that I took the photos in this post (In this case it was sunny, but stupid hot). It’s also the reason I have such a number of B&W photos of the place, as at the time I only had B&W film with me, so I thought, “What the hell, lets give it a try and see how things come out!”. Once I developed and scanned the roll, I thought, “Not too bad.”, so I had no hesitations using B&W for future visits, which led to the images in the prior posts.
Film was Arista EDU 200, which is rebranded Foma 200, and the camera was one of the Canon A-1’s I own. The results are quite satisfying I feel, and I even used one to make myself an awesome t-shirt (“I’m not Dead . . . .”). Check them out and enjoy!
This was also taken the same day after I was finished and walking over to my meeting. I loved all the vertical cues in the scene and took this to try and capture the visual alliteration that I had stumbled across. I think it worked out quite well and it’s one of my favorite current photos.
About a month back, we had tickets to go to a night game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners. It was the only game we got a chance to attend this year, but suffice to say it was an enjoyable evening, despite the ‘Bucs getting clobbered in the end.
Now, a great thing about baseball in Pittsburgh is PNC Park, which is a new, modern, and very beautiful stadium that makes any game an enjoyable one, win or lose. For photographers in particular, this stadium is even better because they have no problem with folks bringing a camera in, as long as you don’t use any kind of support or disturb the other patrons around you. And when I say camera, I mean any camera – I’ve taken my D3 with an 80-200 f/2.8 attached before and they didn’t bat an eye. If you don’t understand why this is a big deal, you need to go to some other venues, because quite a few won’t let you carry any cameras in – let alone a pro DSLR with pro glass on it. Of course, the one limitation in all of this is that the photos can only be used for personal use, meaning you can’t sell them in any way, but that’s cool and still makes for an enjoyable time shooting the game as you watch it.
This time through, in order to try something a bit different, I took my Nikon F4s and formerly mentioned 80-200 f/2.8, plus a few rolls of B&W film, specifically Kentmere’s ISO 400 emulsion which I bulk load myself. It goes without saying, that ISO 400 is a bit too slow for shooting under the lights, so I shot it with a two-stop push to ISO 1600 which gave me a perfect 1/500 shutter speed at about f/3.5-4 on average. I’ve shot the Kentmere 400 @ 1600 more than a few times up to now, so I had no worries that the images would turn out excellent from an exposure standpoint.
I wasn’t disappointed either – I got some great shots from our seats which were only a short space back from first base. I did have to dodge folks’ heads a bit to get clear shots as our section was full to the brim and everyone was fairly active, but I got enough keepers that I have no complaints whatsoever. In total, I took two rolls worth of photos, so forty-eight frames in all as I was using twenty-four shot rolls. That may seem like hardly anything, but it was more than enough since I used a bit of patience and selectivity when choosing when and what to shoot. That’s one thing film offers that digital doesn’t – a bit of a push to be conservative when shooting. That can be both a good or bad thing depending on your outlook on how you like to shoot; for myself, I have no problems with it – I shoot film a bit more conservatively and digital a bit more freely, and don’t ever feel hampered or limited in either media.
None of this means anything without showing the photos though, right? Right, so here’s a short selection of some of the keepers from the night. I think you’ll find that the B&W film gives them a somewhat unique and refreshing look that is very different from what you get with digital. Sure, the color’s missing which might be a disadvantage for some folks, but myself I don’t mind it and if anything it offers an enjoyably nostalgic feel to the images which I think meshes nicely with baseball in general. You can judge for yourself though, as here are the photos.
Earlier this year, I was asked by the local school district to photograph their very first STEAM fair held at the JR/SR highschool. The fair included participants from all the schools and grade levels in the district, but was held at the HS due to available space and the fact that they were celebrating the opening of the new STEAM/Tech Ed rooms recently created there.
I spent about 3 hours there total and took a large number of photos of both the students and teachers participating in the event. Overall, I’m happy with the way they turned out and so were the administrators from the district, who’ve in turn used the photos for various promotional items both internal and external to the district.
Gear-wise I used my D3, a Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 AF-S lens, and a SB-900 flash which together is my standard setup for most event shooting. Unsurprisingly, some people will ask, “Why use such an old camera for important work? Shouldn’t you be using a better camera with more resolution, better AF, etc. etc.?” My answer to that is because it works. It has proven reliability, the image quality is more than enough for the task at hand, and the overall function and operation of the camera still is better than a large number of current bodies on the market today.
I mention this because there is a bit of a lesson here to walk away with, which is that you don’t always need to have the latest gear in order to take excellent photos. What you need is enough to get the job done reliably and consistently, and not much more. Fact is, there really hasn’t been a camera made in the last ten years that doesn’t take a good photo. I should qualify that by saying I’m referring to the vast lineup of enthusiast, semi-pro, and pro grades of cameras, and mainly DSLRs, though more recently there have been a number of mirrorless entries that are quite capable as well. Point & Shoots and other similar consumer grade cameras are another thing altogether, but if we’re talking about more serious gear, then I say there is very little that has been made that is not capable of taking professional grade photos – at least from an image quality standpoint. Of course, some bodies are going to be more capable and reliable than others, allowing for you to take your shots potentially easier than some other gear, plus hold up to more abuse, but when we’re looking at pure image quality, even an older camera like the D3 is still very competitive for a lot of uses. The fact that it was Nikon’s flagship camera at the time it was released doesn’t hurt as well and helps quite a bit.
Anyhow, the end result of all this was a fun night of photography for myself, a satisfied client who has since asked for more of my services, and the contentment that comes from a job well done. Can’t ask for much more, really.
Here’s a small selection of shots from the evening, enjoy!
A little follow-up post to the previous Subie post. This image was taken during the same evening drive and only about 100-150′ from the location that the WRX’s shot was taken. All the camera details are the same as for the WRX.
I’ve shot this car before about six or seven years back. It was in slightly better shape, but not by much. This time most of the interior was stripped, but otherwise it was pretty much just as dismal.
Just a quickie today for you. About a month back I bought a new car, a 2016 Subaru WRX. If you’ve followed this blog long enough you know that in its beginning it was heavily automotive oriented because at the time I was shooting and publishing mostly automotive work as that was the field of photography I was concentrating in. Nowadays, however, that’s not so much the case for a number of reasons, but I still love performance cars, driving, and photography, and since that’s fairly strong in my blood, it’s only natural that I’d start shooting snaps of the new ride.
The photo above was taken during an evening drive that was part of burning off break-in miles and looking for photo ops. En route, there’s a power station that has a number of old industrial sites nearby with easy access and no nosy folk to get in the way. I pulled into one of them, lined up the car how liked, and then took about 7-8 shots. I had brought my Pentax 645 with me, which had a half-shot roll in it, so this was a great chance to burn off the roll. Overall, a nice result, but since it was a bit off-the-cuff I didn’t have a towel to wipe the tire treads properly. I also don’t have a polarizer for this camera, so that’s something I would correct in the future. Still, the result is quite attractive just the same, so thought I’d share it.
Camera specifics are a Pentax 645 w/ Pentax 75mm f/2.8 SMC-A, Arista EDU 400 B&W film developed in D76 1:1 and scanned on an Epson V500. The scans were pp’d in Lightroom 5 like all of my film shots.
I want to share an upcoming show that I will be a part of along with fifteen other members of the Ag Works Photo Collective.
If you have a chance please come out to Image Box in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Friday, June 3rd, from 7-10pm. The opening is a part of the Unblurred monthly art walk and as is always the case, should be a pretty lively and entertaining night out. If you’re not able to attend that evening, the gallery is also open by appointment until June 24th.
For the gallery address and list of other participating photographers, please see the attached promo card above. I look forward to seeing you there!
Hi everyone! I want to announce that I will be teaching a new intermediate photography class at the Hoyt Center for the Arts this Summer term. I know a lot of folks have been interested in taking such a class for a while now, so I’ve put this together with that in mind. Here’s the description from the Hoyt’s website catalog:
New! On Assignment, The Sequel: Intermediate Digital Photography
8 Tuesdays, June 14 – August 2, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
This class is for intermediate to advanced students. Students are required to have a DSLR or advanced mirrorless camera, as well as a solid functional understanding of both their equipment and basic photographic concepts such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Lessons are based on weekly demonstrations of topics such as shooting workflow, post-processing/editing techniques and software, color management, and off-camera flash. The class will also include weekly creative assignments and critiques to promote creative/practical problem solving as well as to strengthen the students’ visual vocabulary. Capacity: 12 students. Minimum: 3 students. Ages 16+. Non-members: $115/Members: $95.
If you’re interested, you can sign up via the website directly, or give them a call at 724.652.2882. Looking forward to having you in class!
A short gear porn post today just for fun. Some of you may have read and remembered my post from a few years back titled “A-OK!“, in which I discussed the brand new Canon A-1 body that I picked up at the time. As I had written, that body became my primary film body for a number of reasons, the main one being that it just takes some amazingly fine photos. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I find these cameras sexy as hell in the looks department either, but their pure functionality as a picture taking machine is what really makes them shine.
With that in mind, here are a couple of shots of the second A-1 body I purchased to use as a backup to my first one. The first was taken with a Nikon D7100, and the second one was taken at the same time as the first, but with my original A-1 and some Foma 200 B&W film. I like both shots, but the one I prefer is the B&W one as I had repositioned the camera better in order to more clearly see the top deck and controls, which are something that greatly contributes to the awesome look of the camera.
In either photo though, as you can see, the camera’s in brand new condition and is absolutely spotless – it even came with the base plate and pressure plate protectors still in place. If you were ever curious about what a vintage camera in general, and the A-1 in particular, looked liked in their heyday, this is it.
Now, not everything is fluttery rose petals when dealing with vintage gear unfortunately, and this A-1 is no different. Despite being pristine cosmetically and functionally (even had perfectly good seals), after having sat unused for nearly 33 years it developed the characteristic Canon FD squeal that is a sign of dried out lube in the mirror assembly. Not a big deal at all, but it did mean that it’s been sent out for a CLA and I’m currently waiting for its return, as well as that of my original A-1 which needed a little TLC also after having been used for over three years non-stop. To say I miss them is an understatement, but I have my Nikon F4s and the little Pentax Program Plus still to fill the gap, so all is not lost.
Speaking of the F4s, I have to admit that once the Canons come back it’s going to be a real battle to decide which system is going to get used the most. On one hand, the Canons are very lightweight and capable cameras to carry around, very durable, feel great in hand, have wonderful optics available, and I have a nice working system built up for them. Plus, they are a real pleasure to shoot since I love a good manual focus camera.
On the other hand, the F4s offers all of that and more (except size and weight) in a practically bomb-proof body that to me is as equally aesthetically pleasing and just as much a pleasure to use – maybe more so for some situations where the AF capability is simply better suited. That, plus the fact that with the addition of a manual focusing screen I can use it manually the same as the Canons makes it a real challenger to them in a number of ways.