Club digital "salon" entries for February, 2011

[Larger images and complete EXIF information are availabe on my Web site, here]

I submitted two images for the nature category this month.  The first was taken in early October near the northern rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado.  I like the layering effect of the foreground of grass, the colorful low bushes on the ridge, and the blue sky and puffy clouds.  Though we often think of images being divided into thirds, there are four distinct layers here.

I feel that there is not a lot here to give a sense of depth; but rather it is all about the colors in layers starting at the bottom (grass) and ending at the top (sky and clouds). 

High Plains Autumn

This second nature image was taken in the marshy area behind my office.  The heron had just finished preening itself, while standing on this little island of vegetation.

Heron After Preening

The final image was taken at a butterfly house so it doesn't meet our club's definition of a "nature" image. The same would go for animals in a zoo. So I submitted it in the "open" category.  Shot at F6.7, I wish I'd used F11 for more depth of field.  I would have liked the antennaes to be in focus, but the eye and proposcus are sharp.

Glasswing Butterfly


Panasonic LX5 tricked out with a couple of accessories - Part 1

Recently I came to the realization that (for me) the LX5 is not a pocket camera.  While my Canon S90 is such a camera because it slips into my jeans pocket (it weighs under 7 ounces and is only 1.2" thick with retractable lens and self-contained lens cover), the LX5 is a bit heavier (actually nearly 50% heavier at just under 10 ounces) and thicker (1.7" with a lens that sticks out as seen in the image below and requires a lens cap). 

I can fit the LX5 easily in my cargo pants pocket if not my jeans pocket, but I find its weight causes it to flop around too much for my liking.  I find that instead of carrying it around in my pocket, I carry it around in my hand.

Once I came to the conclusion that the LX5 would not ride in my pocket, the door was open for adding a couple of accessories.

First to be added was a lens adapter.  All you need to do is remove the small ring on the lens (foreground left in the image below) and screw on the adapter (the barrel shown on the right).  This one is a third-party brand bought through EBay for about $14.  It shipped to my home in the USA from Hong Kong in about 10 days. 

The fit and finish of this lens adapter is excellent.  It screws on rather tightly, but nevertheless very smoothly. The diameter of the end that screws into the camera is 46mm.  The open end measures 52mm.  Therefore you will need a 52mm snap-on lens cap. My lens adapter came with two cheap but adequate 52mm caps.

What's the purpose of adding such an adapter?  I can think of several: (1) It makes a good lens hood; (2) at the end of the adapter you can screw in filters, a wide angle converter lens built by Panasonic especially for the LX5, or a closeup lens;  (3) you can get a grip with your left hand that will better stabilize the camera while shooting; or (4) you can power up the camera without the annoyance of having to first remove the lens cap, and when you are done shooting you can replace the cap without having to wait for the lens to first power down.

The main downside in my opinion is that the adapter interferes with flash performance, often creating a shadow on the image [edit 2011Feb13: at 24mm, 28mm and 35mm settings.  At 50mm and longer focal lengths the shadow does not exist.]

To be honest, I have not yet used the lens adapter with the LX5. But I know I will.  I use a lensmateonline.com adapter on my Canon G9 and a Pemaraal adapter on my old Panasonic FZ8 with good success.  I see no reason why the LX5 will be any different, except that I will need a 52-58 step up ring to fit my 58mm filters.


It's all about the light

I was sorting through some old pictures (not too old, but taken last April) and came across this shot taken at 7:26 pm, just minutes before I walked into the library next door to this church, to attend a photo club meeting.  A few folks were standing and admiring the scene, but I was the only one with a camera.  This is why I love compact cameras... they're easy to keep with you.  And it's not too profound to say, "the best camera for the job is the one you have with you."

This was taken with a Canon S90 in jpeg mode.  All default settings.  P-mode.  The horizontal photo below is the original image.  Looking down the editing panel in Lightroom I see that it is uncropped and unedited.  A basic OOC (out of camera) jpeg.

What happened here is that we had had an afternoon of dark stormy clouds, but with the sun nearly below the horizon, the sun was low enough to blast through under the clouds to light up the steeply for just a few minutes.  The contrast against the dark clouds makes the church dazzle in the warm evening light.

The vertical image is the result of (1) a vertical crop and (2) a slight adjustment to the vertical distortion (i.e. steeple leaning inward) using the applicable slider in the Lightroom develop panel.


Club print "salon" entries for January

The color image was submitted as a 9"x12" print to match its 4:3 aspect ratio.  The black and white print was submitted as a 6"x12" print to match the 2:1 aspect ratio that I often use to create a landscape "panel".

The color image was taken at Cape Rosier, Maine.  It's actually a vertical panorama combined from three shots, moving the camera from the foreground to the middleground to the sky.  However, I found that for compositional purposes I cropped it back to an image I could have easily taken with one carefully framed picture, probably at the 28mm (equivalent) end of my 28-108 zoom.

Maine Coast Morning

This black and white is taken near Stonington, Maine.  I liked the contrast when converted to black and white.  It was a foggy morning, which explains why there is little (none?) detail in water in the background.  The fact that the lobsterboats are hanging on their moorings in different directions is because it was a windless day and/or perhaps there was a slack tide.

Lobstermen's Wharf


Club digital "salon" entries for January

These are my digital entries for my photo club's December digital salon:

The swallowtail photo was taken at a nearby butterfly house.  Because of limited depth of field when trying to get a good close up image, it is sometimes better to shoot when the wings are fully open so that the entire butterfly is the same distance from the lens, such as I did here.  This increases your chance of getting all parts of the butterfly in focus.

This shot was taken with available light at ISO800, 1/250th second and F8.  It was hand held.  The 70-300mm zoom was at 160mm (on my Olympus with 2x crop factor that equates to a 320mm field of view).  Because of image stabilization built into the body of the Olympus, all lenses are automatically image stabilized.  So, likely I could have taken this shot at a slower speed (such as 1/125th at ISO400) because the swallowtail seems to be motionless; but I usually shoot butterflies by setting the shutter and aperature manually at 1/250th and F8.  This freezes subject movement and gives very good depth of field.  To ensure a reasonable exposure, I then set ISO to automatic.


This Great Blue Heron photo was taken in a pond near my place of work.  Though I have seen herons there for years, this was the first time I was even aware that there were fish in this shallow pond.  Same 70-300mm zoom as above, but at full zoom-in of 300mm (600mm effective field of view).  Shutter priority at  1/250th second was enough to freeze action and didn't strain the effectiveness of the camera image stabilization system.  ISO was 800 and aperature was F6.7.  I like how sharp his eye is.

Heron with Prey

Taken on the coast of Maine, on Penobscott Bay.  I liked the warm diffused light of this 7pm shot.

Classic Lobsterboat