Category Archives: Photo Gear

A Ride In The Country, Then A Walk Around Town

Town And Country In Licking County, Ohio.

We’re coming up on February 2017. In my opinion, February is the toughest month of winter. By this point, I’m tired of it. Getting outside helps resolve some of the angst though.

Here’s some a ride in the country and a walk in the city from this Sunday afternoon.

Licking County farm fenceline.
Fenceline on the backroads in the northern part of Licking County, Ohio.
The Draft House Alley entrance in Newark, Ohio.
Entrance in the rear of The Draft House in downtown Newark, Ohio.
Alleyway barber shop sign.
Barber shop sign in an alley.

Long Exposure Welding Glass Photography Experiment

Digital photography’s limits entertain me  to  no end. The ability to capture a slice of light and time is interesting, but stretching that out to a larger slice of light and time is more interesting.

I read that I could use cheap welding glass instead of expensive neutral density filters to get a start in long exposure photography. The only problem is that you have to rig it on with rubber bands and welding glass has a strong green tint that must either be converted to black and white or color corrected in Photoshop.

It’s nearly impossible to find anyone who can print a black and white photo properly, so I didn’t want to work in black and white. I was happy to see that my conversion to color worked. It’s amazing that this green tinted photo could be tweaked to look normal. I have to laugh more now at the, “I don’t like it, it’s been Photoshopped.”, crowd. Photoshop does incredible things. Saving me huge amounts of money on filters and producing a viable result like this is another.

Now, I have a few more tweaks to make this a workable solution.

Before…

RAW file after long exposure shot with welding glass.
The RAW file looked like this when shot with welding glass at a 30 second exposure.

After…

A 30 second shot through welding glass after color correction in Photoshop.
A 30 second shot through welding glass after color correction in Photoshop.

After 30 seconds with this setup, strange things started happening due to light leaks. I ordered a lens hood to rig up a better mount. The way I had it mounted even messed up the focus, blurring the photo too.  Also, a remote trigger is on the way so that I can use the bulb feature better for exposures longer than 30 seconds. Once I get that and I get to a spot that’s more interesting than my backyard, I’ll be ready to learn to create cool long exposure photo.

A New Lens. Canon 10-18mm.

I haven’t bought any new gear in a while. With Winter being a drag, I figured what the hell, I’ll get a wide lens. I’ve never even tried one. Like most, I have had a strong draw to telephoto and I ignored the wider end of the spectrum.

Wheels and gears at Foundation Park
Wheel and gears at Foundation Park in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

This photo is one of the first that I was pleased with from the Canon 10-18mm. It’s more interesting with more depth than what a telephoto or more normal lens would provide.

I did catch on that just using it to fit more in your photo is rarely a good way to use the lens. Small adjustments in position make big changes in the image too. This is going to take some thinking when I consider how to use it.

I also bought a battery grip. It holds an extra battery to double the power, but that’s not the reason I bought it. I could easily just carry the battery. The main purpose is that it turns gives more gripping surface to the camera. The Canon T5i is just to small for my medium sized hands and this corrects that problem 100%.

Tripods Suck, But This One Doesn’t Suck As Much

I hate camera tripods. I hate carrying them and setting them up. Problem is, sometimes you really do need one. Here’s an example that I could not have done without a tripod.

Bridge Of Dreams In Danville, Ohio. Long exposure on a tripod.
Long exposure in the late evening on a tripod.

The long exposure, HDR methods used, low ISO, and the lines from the flowing water just could not have happened without a tripod. Image stabilization only stabilizes the camera, not the subject, so the flowing water would have blurred.

The solution for me is a very small and lightweight Benro MePhoto tripod. A little pricey compared to the flimsy department store specials I’ve used before, but well worth it for the quality.

These small tripods solve so many of the problems that larger tripods create. Their downside is that they’re not as stable and will not raise as high as a full size tripod. I’ll take those negatives in exchange for a more portable tool.

I Bought A Canon T5i DSLR Because It’s Awesome.

I don’t like to write much about the technical aspects of cameras because equipment really isn’t where attention should be focused for amateur photographers(or pros either for that matter). I will write about equipment when I’ve bought a new camera or to show that lesser cameras do have unique advantages. I bought a Canon Rebel T5i Digital SLR Camera and 18-55mm EF-S IS STM Lens Kit recently and I’ll tell you why.

So I had $750 I wanted to put towards my photography. I didn’t have time really to use the money for a photographic experience like I would like to. My old 20D that I bought used was doing ok, but there are a few modern advances that make the Canon T5i more desirable.

  • Live view.
  • A live view screen that swivels which is great for my style of shooting.
  • A live view screen that doubles as a great touch screen menu system
  • The ability to touch the screen to choose a focus point.
  • STM lens with image stabilization which reduces the need to carry a tripod.

I like the general look and feel of the camera too, but that’s a personal thing. Overall, I think the camera was worth the money. If a person was set on buying a DSLR, I would recommend this one for most people. I choose Canon because they’re the easiest to find used lenses for and I love their menu system. Other brands are good too, I’m just not that familiar with them.

The number one reason that an amateur would want a DSLR, it’s interchangeable lenses. Yes, the new 4/3 cameras have them, but lack the vast array of choices that a standard DSLR has available. The main reason I like good glass is the ability to produce the ever-popular Bokeh.

The first image I liked from my Canon T5i. with it’s 18-55mm STM lens.

Bokeh is a term to describe the use of blurred area in an artistic way to highlight a subject and detract from the rest of the image. You can do this with lesser cameras, but lenses available for DSLR’S just make this easier. My new Canon T5i allows me to choose the focus point by simply touching it on the screen. Nothing is a necessity, it’s just less of a challenge and a little more enjoyable to do.

I would not recommend this camera or any DSLR to anyone who isn’t sure of why or if they need a DSLR. If you don’t know, you don’t need one yet. There is so much that can be done with point and shoots. Advantages of a lower cost and more portability actually make cheaper point and shoots more desirable for many.

The Amazing Power Of Superzooms

This video was shot on a cloudy day from a mono pod with a Canon SX50 super zoom. It’s not a great video, but good enough to demonstrate the power of a super zoom and the numerous opportunities that such a camera gives for a low price.

While the zoom power of the lens is incredible for a camera that costs less than $400, note the numerous photo opportunities that can be taken. The steeple, the factory, the clock on the courthouse, the list goes on. I that same inexpensive little camera, I can get interesting closeup shots of the old tombstones too.

Of course, the quality of the image is not going to be as high it would be if I used a DSLR with lenses that would cost many thousands of dollars, but I can still take very good images that allow creativity to flow with ease.

I only use my Canon SX50 as an example because that is what I own. There are many other super zoom cameras that are better suited to you. All the major manufacturers have one. I bought my daughter a Panasonic FX70 that is highly comparable. It’s lacking a swivel viewfinder which I prefer, the menu system is different from what I’m accustomed to, and it’s a larger camera. It’s really just a matter of personal preference.

The downside to the super zoom cameras are that they are lacking compared to higher quality cameras. Good lighting is always preferred for super zoom as their low-light performance just isn’t that great. This can be overcome with a tripod and longer exposure times. The super zoom lens distortion is more noticeable and it’s not uncommon for the camera to produce more noise.

I’ve found that Photoshop can correct many of the shortcomings of a super zoom, even the lens distortion. Better in-camera photos are always a plus, but digital editing is one way to make due. The skills learned transfer to any camera later too. Even very high end cameras produce images that benefit from digital editing skills.