3.31.2011

Experiment, try, fail, succeed. Don't sit still.

I went out to Willie Nelson's place west of Austin with Selena to take a few images to promote her band,  Rosie and the Ramblers.  We didn't use any lights for the images shown here.  I'd just bought the two Canon 1Dmk2's and I tossed them in the bag along with the three Zeiss ZE lenses:  The 35mm f2, the 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.4.  I tried every permutation of available light shooting I could think of and then some.  The top image was shot, hand held with the 50mm lens, wide open.  Or close to it.

I'd always heard that this lens was "dreamy" and "unsharp" wide open and while I admit that focusing it on one of the cropped frame cameras can be.....challenging I think the center sharpness of this high speed optic is pretty damn good.  Another myth in the trash basket.


I heard the same thing about the 85mm 1.4 lens.  All of the well known photo test sites sing the same mantra on this lens:  "It's soft and dreamy wide open."  The shot above was taken, handheld, with that same 85mm 1.4 lens, used at its widest aperture.  I think it's pretty wonderful.  All fast lenses are designed to be sharp in the middle at wider apertures.  Because,  that's where we need them to be sharp.  If I listened to the pundits I would never have purchased the lens because I would have been told that it's only usable above f4. Pretty crazy if you ask me.



While I rail a lot about the futility and silliness of heavy post processing I recently bought a copy of Topaz Adjust and I've been playing around with all of the filter presets.  They are all too heavy handed but I find that I can fade the filter result in PhotoShop and then I like the effects much better.  Not sure it's any better than what I could normally do by myself in PhotoShop but it's a lot of fun to experiment with.



Part of my new experiments have to do with microphones for video production.  I bought a Sennheiser wireless microphone system and I've had very, very good results so far.  In the next week or so I'll write a review about the microphones and transmitters.

I know that dipping my toes into motion might scare off some readers but, c'est la vie. I think the whole market is moving to motion and the sooner we come to grips with stuff that moves around and makes noise the better.

Off to see Michael O'Brien sign some books.  Hope you're having a great week.

Best, Kirk

10 comments:

Hugh said...

Not really keen on the colour palette - seems more "Ektachrome" than "Kodachrome 64".

Lovely lenses though!

kirk tuck said...

Michael had a good crowd at the booksigning tonight. And the book is remarkably good. Wonderful reproduction. I haven't read the poems yet but I need to sit with the book for a while.....

Simon said...

Beautiful shots, I like the look of the lenses too. Have you tried Nik Software's Colour Efex Pro package Kirk? I like the Tonal Contrast and Pro Contrast filters to add some punch to food and landscape shots - they need the opacity reduction also, but they give some nice results when you get it just right!

Hugh said...

Michael's book looks amazing.

That and these fotos remind you that the simple stuff is the best - or else it's just that we're both from the same era.

SimonL said...

Hey Kirk, you might take a look at Topaz Detail since it's like Adjust but without the halos. Much more useful for getting rid of the anti-aliased look. I rarely use it at 100% opacity and usually as a luminosity layer over the original.
HTH

Bold Photography said...

There was a reception? Bah! I missed it!

Internet fluff -- who needs it! :-)

Ah, video - a whole 'new venture...

Frank Grygier said...

It was a pleasure meeting you in person. Thanks for bringing this compelling book to my attention. It is easy to turn away from people on the street.I cannot look away from Mr. O'Brien's images. The story of Mr Graham of Loaves and Fishes finding a childhood friend in the faces of the homeless made me realize that this can happen to anyone and I need to do what I can to help. Photography like this in inspiring.

Jessica said...

Please dive right into motion! I'm loving it, and hearing from you about it sounds great too. You always can buy way cooler gadgets than my budget allows . . .

kirk tuck said...

Frank, It was good to meet you as well.

Anonymous said...

Motion is cool. I've been shooting short snips of motion over the past couple months. Nothing special, family stuff, things that caught my eye, ect... Then spent about 20 hours this weekend editing,added a royalty free soundtrack and ended up with a 4:12 video about nothing. But I was having so much fun the time flew by. After sending it to a few friends & family, got a bunch of "Holy #@*&" how did you do that!!! So now I'm hooked on Motion. By the by, my E-PL2 did a wonderful job, if the infatuation holds I may have to move up to the 60D..... Thanks for all the zen like postings....
John Minor