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silver fx, etc

Still plugging away with the one lens black and white thing.  I was sensing a need to stop and asses things, it seemed like some sloppiness was creeping in.

I am pretty used to the GF1 by now, and I am pretty happy with it.  I did purchase a lens hood and a plug- in electronic viewfinder.  The 20 mm lens from Panasonic does not come with a lens hood, and I have been having some flare issues.  I have also noticed some things creeping into my composistiosn, and I blame the fact that the the lcd on the back of the camera can make composition a theoretical excercise if there is glare.  The extra viewfinder is a long way from perfect, but I can at least see what is in the frame and tell where the point of focus is.

The other thing I feel I need to work on is really understanding black and white.  When I look at some of my pictures over the last month or so, there are some I am really happy with, and some that just look flat.

Case and point is the picture below.

I took that picture because there was a game trail going into the brush, and I thought it might look interesting.  Unfortunately my best efforts with Lightroom resulted in the game trail being almost invisible.

Below is the original file in colour.

Here the trail is more visible because of the blue shadows.  I think the issue I run into in Lightroom is that getting the snow white results in the details being lost.

I keep hearing about Silver FX, and there is a new version available for a 15 day trial period.  I downloaded the trial version, and gave it a try, below is the result.

Still not the Sistine Chaple maybe, but this version looks so much closer to what I saw when I took the picture.

So Silver FX might be worthwhile.  More playing around is in order I think.


gallery added

I put up a new gallery here.  There is a navigation bar to other content at the top of the page.

I have about a zillion pictures scattered all over on different types of media.  I am working on reigning the chaos in, but it is going to be a ton of work. I have been doing a lot of procrastinating because it is pretty overwhelming, but I just need to get in the habit of doing the work a little at a time.

I added a new hard drive and a blue ray burner to my computer last weekend.  It was just like any other job around the house.  Once I got the new drives home, I realized I needed new cables, and had to go out again.  It was pretty late in the evening by the time I got everything set up.

I also bought a copy of Lightroom, and have been learning how to use it.  It is really powerful software, and I do not see needing anything else for 95% of my work.  It is going to be a bit of a learning curve though.

As I go, I will post some of my old pictures in the photoblog.  I will put up a gallery on occasion as well.  Plus, I need to do some printing.  I need to get some work in the gallery.  All of it will be learning as I go, but it should be fun.


new camera

I bought a Panasonic GF1 with a 20 mm pancake lens a couple of weeks ago.

I have been interested in the micro four thirds cameras for a while.  I like having a small camera when I travel for work, or to carry with me when I go for a walk, and don't want to lug my slr kit around.  I have my Panasonic LX3, which is a really good camera, but the GF1 interested me for a couple of reasons.  The larger sensor in the GF1 will give me better quality files to work with, and better control over depth of field.  I also like the flexibility of being able to use different lenses.

I thought about buying a micro four thirds camera last fall when they were relased, but at that time I really wanted a new computer so I bought the computer instead.  A couple of weeks ago I was out shopping for something, an I saw an Olympus G-PL1 in the store.  Playing around with the Olympus reminded me of my past interest, and I started doing some research on the system again.

Another thing I have wanted to do for a while is something along the lines of this project.  I do not 100% agree with everything stated in the linked post, but I agree with the premise that shooting in black and white and using one camera with a fixed focal length could be a good learning exercise.

Colour just works different than Black and White.  Value, or relative light and dark, are more important in Black and White.  I think that learning to compose in Black and White will help me compose in general, because it will make me see things differently.

I think using one lens helps too; because the restriction of one focal length will force me to be more creative in other ways.  One of the reasons I bought the LX3 was because it had a lens that went from wide to normal.  I found myself using long focal lengths on my slr a lot, and I wanted to force myself to try something different.

Staying creative means trying new things sometimes, and challenging yourself.  I think using one camera, a single focal length lens, and shooting in black and white will force me out of my comfort zone and I will learn.

I bought the GF1 mostly because I liked the lens.  The lens has a maximum aperture of 1.7, which will give me really good control over depth of filed.  The focal length is normal, which is not a focal length I usually use.  I actually like the Olympus bodies, especially the in body anti-shake, more than the Panasonic body, but getting the 20 mm lens with an Olympus body would cost me an extra $200.  The difference between the two bodies was not worth $200 to me.

I really like the GF1 so far, and the 20 mm lens seems really good so far.  I am not certain how rigid I will be about the one year with one camera, but in the mean time there is a one project category in the photoblog section of the site.



I am moving to Squarespace from Typepad.

There are a some technical reasons for a move from Typepad, and they are things that 95% of people probably wouldn't notice or think about.  Neither platform gives me complete control over the way my pictures are presented, but I feel I can work better within Squarespace's constraints, and I expect less surprises with Squarespace.

There is also a less technical reason to move.

I think that to learn and grow at a creative pursuit like photography, to even maintain a level ability at a pursuit like photography, requires a lot practice.  My first experience with blogging was posting one picture a day for one year on a photoblog.  I learned a lot in that year, and grew a lot as a photographer.  I want to use the blog as motivation to take more pictures, and help me stay focused.  It is not realistic for me to sustain one picture a day, but if I commit to three or four per week I will be more motivated to keep in practice.

I can configure the pages here so that I have a page that presents my pictures one at a time, and a separate page for less frequent updates in a more conventional format.  I can add separate galleries, and I like the way the galleries are arranged on Squarespace.

I set up a photo page as the main page, which is accessible at   Comments are not enabled on that page, mostly because I could not figure out a way to set the comments up that I did not find distracting.

I also set up this page for various updates, news, and thoughts.  I expect to update this page much less frequently.

Unfortunately, there are separate RSS feeds for the two pages, but I think I can put a note in the photo page when I update this page. There is a navigation panel at the top of the page.

Over time I expect to add a few galleries, and also expect a few tweaks to the layout of the pages.  I'm looking forward to it.