Slow down and savor what's all around you. Why the rush to get through life? Look once and then look again. Be late for work but early for a good sunrise.

Looking back over centuries.

From the Battle Collection at the Blanton Museum. 

My interpretation of a timeless sculpture.

I think it's good to have a favorite artwork in each museum you go to. The work that most engages you gives you a reason to go back and see more.

This image is my favorite painting at the Blanton Museum. I like it a lot and I never visit the museum without going upstairs to this quiet gallery dedicated to religious paintings and looking. I'll sit down and absorb the painting for fifteen or twenty minutes before I move on and when I do leave the room I take some of it with me in a certain way that's unexplainable.

There are a number of works of art that get me in exactly the same way, even though they are completely different. I would fly to Rome just to see the Bernini sculpture, "Apollo and Daphne" at the Borghese Galleria even if it's the only work of art I got to see before heading right back to the airport and coming right back home. It's that incredibly powerful to me.

The Bernini sculpture, "The Ecstasy of St. Theresa" located above the altar of the Cornaro Chapel in Rome's Santa Maria della Vittoria, is stunning. Just riveting. 

Upstairs in the Louvre Museum is another favorite sculpture by Antonio Canova, called, "Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss" that is the most romantic (and sensual) work of art in the entire city of Paris. I have been haunted by it since I first laid eyes on it in 1978.

I was surprised to see the Leonardo Da Vinci painting, "Madonna Litta", in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It's wonderful painting and equal to the combined inventory of the Chagall gallery in the same museum. There's so much amazing art in the world and it's all there all the time for us to see and reference and learn from. It's just amazing. 

We can't create well in a vacuum. We either reinvent a lesser wheel or we lose the thread that ties everything together.  We as photographers and artists are part of a continuum. Our value is in our understanding of whose shoulders we stand upon and how we can reach up and forward instead of making narcissistic work that doesn't let your voice out in an honest way.  Um....go look at art. You'll get it.

Looking at Art on a quiet Thursday. Another trip to the Blanton Museum.

click on the photos to make em bigger.

There is a new show of paintings at the Blanton Museum. I didn't have much to do today so after walking with Studio Dog, and giving a very stinky Studio Dog a bath, I headed over to the UT campus to visit the Art. The show is a retrospective of Caribbean artist, Francisco Oller. The show is entitled "Impressionism and the Caribbean" and it contains some wonderful work by contemporaries of Oller like Monet and Pissaro. It's a fun show. I'll go back again and soak it up next week, if I have an open schedule. 

After I see the new shows on the first floor I like to go up to the second floor and see what's shaking. I amble around and look at my favorite stuff. Today, for instance, I was drawn to the Andy Warhol painting of Farrah Fawcett. It's so much fun and if you look closely you can see the screen pattern from the silkscreen. Nice. 

There's also a Ben Shahn painting in the permanent collection called, "From That Day On", which deals with the atomic bomb attack on Japan. I like to see it and also "Oil Field Girls, 1940" by Jerry Bywater. The painting collection is an eclectic selection of work from the renaissance to now. It's interrupted here and there by interesting sculpture by people like Louise Nevelson.

Sometimes I just like the concept of looking into a gallery from another gallery. Seeing how a sense sees the division of space. Like the images above and below. Both feel like I am actually looking into the room instead of being a flat piece of art. 

I carry a different camera most visits. Today I was in a 50mm mood. I wasn't looking for stretch or compression; I was looking for verisimilitude in the first order. The feeling of seeing something with human point of view and perspective. I shot with the Nikon D610 and the 50mm Sigma Art lens. 

That lens is engaging in a way that most optics aren't. Don't care about the numbers but love the way it creates photographs. I'd use it for everything if I could. 

Long story short: Go see art. It will effect the way you see and the way you shoot. Mostly for the better. 

A few "between the real shots" shots from yesterday's restaurant shoot at Cantine. The 40 megapixel files are wonderful. So are the 16s.

EM5.2+ Sigma 60mm f2.8

The look of the Hi-Res, 40 megapixel files is different than the look of the regular 16 megapixel files. I can't put my finger on it exactly but it may have to do with the color purity. The actual color is more accurately sampled in this method and that may lead to fewer things that trigger my subconscious assessment of the photographs. The smoothness of the surface of the coffee cup seems so different...

On another note, I love working in restaurants like Cantine. While we're shooting we can always get a really, really good espresso. And the snacking while shooting is first rate.

EM5.2+ Sigma 60mm f2.8

I was photographing a salad in the little sweet spot of light we'd selected when I looked over and saw the way the light was hitting our plate of salmon and blistered tomatoes. I turned the tripod and shot the angle above. I think the color purity of the tomatoes is stunning. The Sigma 60mm lens is obviously doing a good job.

                                                              EM5.2+ Sigma 60mm f2.8

Even the aftermath of dining can be interesting in the right light. 

This one is a Nikon 610+105mm f2.5 shot. I brought this combo along for BTS shoots. 
I used it for fun extras.

EM5.2+ Sigma 60mm f2.8

I have to hand it to Olympus on the quality of the regular files out of the camera. They have a wonderful balance of colors and tonalities. I would give credit to the camera for the clever white balance but I was using one of the presets so that hardly counts....

EM5.2+ Sigma 60mm f2.8

We wanted to shoot some video of a wine pour but I couldn't resist getting a few still shots on our second version. My video partner, James Webb was doing a great job covering the handheld video work so I had the freedom to just play around a bit. Love the look of glasses illuminated by big windows. And I love what the wide open 60mm lens is doing with the stuff in the background. I am not a "bokeh" expert but the out of focus bottles in the background look gentle and kind.

Another random D610+105 shot. It's fun too.

This wraps up my week of Olympus commercial shooting stories. The cameras work very well and as we use them more and more either we or they are getting more efficient in overall battery use. We both had plenty of reserve at the end of the shoot. I had done still life in the morning and then the food and pour shots in the afternoon with the same camera and battery combination. Next time I won't bring the little Pelican mini case with the seven extra batteries. I'll just stick one in my pocket to be safe....

Olympus OMD EM-5.2 makes good images of servers. This is part two of yesterday's Hi-Res Mode saga.

Yesterday I wrote about using the Olympus EM5-2 on two jobs but I only showed the salad we shot at Cantine on the second job of the day. I wanted to come back and show one of the products we shot in the morning for our tech client, Salient Systems. I love the fire engine red front bezels for their server units. They look really cool all stacked up in a rack mount configuration.  

I didn't have time yesterday to do the post processing I needed to do on the job before I wrote yesterday's blog (a consequence of being a one man band) but I did finish up clipping paths and dust spotting around midnight last night so I thought I'd show this example while it the whole topic was still fresh in my mind. 

The server was shot in the company's conference room. I brought a short roll of white seamless paper and rolled it out from a set of background stands across the end of a big, conference room table. The room has a wall of windows that were covered by shades but the shades were not completely opaque; in fact, the sun through the shade material lit the room beautifully. I used three Fotodiox 312AS LED panels to light the server from different sides. In a departure from my usual practice I used the three lights without any modifiers other than the plastic diffusers that come with the lights. I also used a Fotodiox 508AS as my main light; again without additional modifiers. 

The OMD EM5-2 was outfitted with a 12-35mm Panasonic X lens set at f8.0. I started out by doing a customer white balance, setting my ISO at 200 and going into the camera's Hi-Res mode. I hadn't checked to see if the latest rev of PhotoShop CC had a converter for the raw version of this mode so I set the camera to the finest Jpeg setting. I focused in manual so I could more accurately distribute focus across the product. 

When shooting at 7296 x 5472 pixels you get to see all the specks of dust you really can't see with your naked eye unless you are twelve inches away from the product. My post production consisted of creating a clipping path around the product so the client can "lift" the image and put it into different layouts, and a more or less