9.10.2013

Pano-Mania. Going extra wide for fun.

I've not really a panorama guy. I played with Noblex cameras and Widelux cameras a little bit back in the film days but it always felt kind of like a gimmick to me. Now PhotoShop and digital imaging have made do-it-on-the-cheap panoramas entirely possible, even for people with no technical talent whatsoever... Count me in.

Camera: Samsung Galaxy NX. Kit lens.
PhotoShop > Photo Merge




Studio Portrait Lighting

Sony exercises their right to build a crappy camera.

The Alpha 3000.

I wrote about this camera two weeks ago and said we should wait and see what it's all about before we pass judgement. It might be a surprisingly good product. That was two weeks ago.

When I was in Berlin we took a side trip to one of the biggest trade shows in the world, the IFA show. We were guests of Samsung but I still shoot most of my professional work with Sony cameras like the a99 and the a850 and I was naturally curious about the new camera from Sony.

I trudged from one corner of the show to the opposite corner of the show (It's spread out among 27 large exhibition halls) just to see if I could handle and play with the new Sony a3000 mirror less camera and it's familiar kit lens. I slid through a throng of people who seemed captivated by the latest TVs and cellphones and finally found the small area dedicated to cameras. There were few people around the camera area so I was able to walk right up and handle a camera that, while tethered to the display table by a security cord, was accessible and possessed of a fully charged battery.

I looked through the EVF, adjusted the diopter and cringed. Now I know why people who have not seen better quality EVFs hold the experience of looking through cheap and nasty ones in such disregard. I could view well enough for composition but there would be no way to judge fine points of focus and no way at all to judge image color or contrast. I instantly came to think of this EVF as a targeting device only.

I didn't have much more happiness from the screen on the back. I'd forgotten how primitive a screen could be after three or four years of looking at 1.44 and 2.44 megapixel OLED screens. 

After I got over my first impressions of the two screens I kept reminding myself that I was not in the target market for this camera. I remembered having written that even if the screens were inadequate for some tasks that perhaps the camera was redeemable by virtue of a stellar sensor. We'll have to wait a bit to test one and see.

But then came the final blow that had me getting the camera out of my hands just as quickly as I could...I had actuated the shutter release several times and the tinny clacking noise was so jarring and high pitched that I felt a little bit of my photographic interest/spirit in general being sucked away from me every time I heard it.

Again, the sensor may redeem the camera. The lens (I've owned two) is very decent, especially with the right sensor. But the camera has so many strikes against it both visually (the screens) and aurally (the obnoxious shutter noise) that I found myself not really caring about any of the other parameters.

Who the camera is for, exactly, is an interesting question. But I can answer with this: It's not aimed at anyone who truly enjoys working with cameras and making great photographs. This is a camera to shoot with only when all of your backups have died and you must get a shot to go on living.

Not recommended. If you are on that tight of a budget start looking for used cameras...


Studio Portrait Lighting

I went to the remnants of the Berlin Wall.



I went to the part of the Berlin Wall that was preserved and made into an ongoing project with murals from artists from around the world. The artists have created all kinds of works dealing with freedom and barriers. The ones that spoke to me most clearly are the murals which illustrate other walls around the world. Walls in Palestine, the Texas-Mexico boarder and the walls between north and south Korea.

I was trying to find some way to illustrate the wall but I'm not a landscape landscape artist and I generally mess up compositions that have huge horizontal sweeps. I started looking for human elements to juxtapose with the Wall.

These are quick shots done quickly but I think it would be wonderful to come back and do a series of images on a few cold, grey and overcast days when the light is less direct and the feeling of it all is quieter.

I like the two images above but I'm including the image below because the bill board was so disturbing and so inappropriately placed. I would ask if there are no limits to the vulgarity of advertising but I already know the answer. I used to work in the industry....

The billboard is across the four lane street on the other side of the wall. That it seems to be an addition to the top of the wall speaks to its enormous size.

Shot at f11 for more depth of field...

Camera: Samsung Galaxy NX.