Monthly Archives: March 2015

Panasonic GX-7

I’ve had the GX-7 for a few days now.  This is my second four/thirds camera.  A few years ago I purchased a Panasonic GF-1 which I wanted as an inconspicuous camera for street shooting.  Along with that camera, I purchased a f/1.7 20mm pancake lens.  Later when I wanted a bit more distance, I added a f/3.5-5.6, 14-42mm kit lens.  With the GX-7, I added a 35-150mm lens which though long, is slow at f/4-5.6. On the first day out, I tried the 35-150mm.  In the mid-day sun, hand holding, the results were pretty good though not spectacular.  We get what we pay for.  On the following day, I used the 14-42mm kit lens.  There was only an hour of sunlight left in the day and while as the light went away, so did the quality of the images – hand holding at relatively slow speed.  It’s not a lens to use at twilight without a tripod. This evening, I used the 20mm pancake lens – 40mm equivalent.  I love this fast little lens.  While the sun was still up, I could walk down the street and capture images on the move.  This camera focus is so fast that at ISO 400 and f/4 and lower, I didn’t even have to stop. It’s an ideal camera for street shooting; and with the electronic shutter turned on, virtually silent. Later in the evening, darkness caught up with me in the area of the marina.  To test how the GX-7 would do in low light, I broke out my tiny Manfrotto tripod which is all of 7 inches high but extremely sturdy.  Sitting across the water from Marina Jack’s, I took a 60 second exposure at ISO 125, f/16. Night Shot The GX-7 has a noise reduction filter that takes about as long to run as the exposure.  It does a pretty good job, though I finished this image off in Topaz DeNoise 5 which is fast, easy to use and produces excellent results. Following that, I added some sharpening using Nik Sharpener Pro 3.  I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Will it replace my DSLR? Probably not; but as a walk-around camera it is superb. Especially nice is the flip-down screen in the back – very nice for taking low shots and handy for inconspicuous street work. I’m getting ready to go on a two week trip and I’ve decided to leave the DSLR at home.  This camera, a small LowePro messenger bag, with the small tripod, three lenses and a couple of filters should work just fine. I haven’t weighed the whole kit it feels to be well under 5 lbs.
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Printing

I haven't printed in recent years.  Never satisfied with the printing results on a home printer, I decided a number of years ago to scrap the effort. Who knows how many bad prints were saved by that decision? The other day, I ordered printing for three images - all in fairly large size for a trial run.  They will be on paper. One, 'Mandroid', because of its technical aspects will be on medium-hard art paper.  The other two will be on a softer, textured, Hannamüle stock. Working with these old images - one taken nearly ten years ago - was fun. I knew exactly where I wanted to take them  - though Mandroid was pure play with new discoveries along the way.      
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In Days of Old…

I'm sure that there is a limerick that begins with that phrase.   Well, why not Google it, I thought. Sure enough, my memory hadn't failed me for a change (see link below).  What brings the title to mind are a couple of images that I worked on today - photos that I took on a visit to the Chicago Art Institute.  I have always enjoyed photographing museum collections.  Firstly because it's a challenge given the variable lighting and secondly, it's a way to revisit the collections at leisure at a later date.  I was doing that this afternoon and came upon some images of mounted knights in armor.  They only took a few minutes to modify to my liking.  I used the same textures described in a previous post. Here are the befores and afters:   In Days of Old-2                               Days of Old_1                               Days of Old_3                                 Days of Old_4                             I tend to travel fast in museums.  There is simply too much to see - no less remember.  So, I shoot what attracts me - first the exhibit and then the card.  The armor shown is German from circa 1560-1610 - Maximilian style.   And now for the limerick:   In days of old When knights were bold And toilet lights were dim You'd hear a crash And then a splash My God! He's fallen in From: Seedy Songs and Rotten Rhymes - the poetry of the playground.    
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Adobe Paper Texture Pro

Paper Texture Pro is available as a free extension to Creative Cloud subscribers to Photoshop - courtesy of Adobe and Adobe's Russel Brown.  It's a very nice addition for those of us who use textures.  Click on a texture and it opens a new layer in Photoshop along with an associated layer mask.  Click on the texture to deselect it and both the texture layer and the new mask are removed.  The textures can be stacked, altered and refined to to taste.  There is a provision to add more textures of your own though a starter pack of FlyPaper Textures is included free to begin with. 2015-03-19_140346 While I had worked with textures occasionally in the past, I never fully appreciated their full power until  I happened on the work of Doug Landreth. Through an affiliated site, Photomorphis, Doug has packages of textures for sale.  I took advantage of a recent promotion where he offered some free hi-res samples.  These I added to the textures included with Adobe Paper Textures Pro.  The image of the freight siding below, is a recent effort in which I tried to emulate Doug's style. Quiet Siding  
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Photojournalism Daily

Photography takes many forms but, in the broadest sense, it can be divided into two categories - art photography and documentary photography. In another time, I was an avid reader of Life Magazine.  I enjoyed Life's images which took me to places I could only dream of while, at the same time, informing in a visceral way, the goings on in the broader world.  I have missed that.  Tonight, I discovered Photojournalism Daily, a compilation of the web's most interesting documentary images from around the world.  Compiled by Time Magazine under the heading LightBox and curated by Mikko Takkunen, this is indeed a collection of fine images.  (The Light Box image collection.)
Photo by Thomas Munita for the New York Times

Photo by Thomas Munita for the New York Times

I chose Thomas Munita's image, for the New York Times,  of urban decay in Myanmar as an example.  Perhaps it represents my own view of a dystopian future as cities and infrastructure crumble under the weight of expanding populations and shrinking employment. This image serves as a good example of the kinds of image one will find in Photojournalism Daily. Most are images that one will simply not find in the mainstream press. More of Thomas Munita's images of Yanmar.
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Wrapping Paper

I'm always on the lookout for new textures.  Last week, a carton from IKEA had some plain, ordinary wrapping paper enclosed.  I set it aside, and after I had finished assembling the item, placed it on the table near a north facing window and photographed it.  This afternoon, I played with it a bit:
The Original

The Original

Version 1

Version 1

Version 3

Version2

There are myriad things that one could do with it but two versions are sufficient.  I'll use the image for a composite when inspiration surfaces.
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My Magazines on Flipboard

Photo by Jeff Gamble

Photo by Jeff Gamble

For a time, I considered curating photography articles and adding them as blog posts on my website.  With the ability to create my own magazines on Flipboard, that thought went away.  Flipboard, for those who don't know, is an App for smartphones, tablets and computers.  It can be downloaded from the Google Playstore or from the Apple Store.  Think of a subject and it's there - often 'flipped' into a magazine like mine.  I have created two magazines: The Eclectic Photographer and Ken's Meanderings. I view both of these as free storage for articles that I find interesting.  I browse Flipboard daily.  One day, I'll look at articles on photography - and there is much to choose from.  Another day might find me wandering among articles that range from programming, to bio-tech, to bread making - just about anything that piques my interest. 'Meanderings' was my only magazine until a couple of days ago when I decided to create a separate magazine for photo articles.  So, I went through my articles and 'flipped' anything having to do with photography to the new magazine. So, there is some initial duplication. Wandering the web, I had often been frustrated when I came upon articles outside Flipboard but was unable to upload them to my magazines.  Today, I solved that problem when I found an Extension called Add to Flipboard in the Google Playstore.  By adding the extension into my bookmark bar, I can simply click on it and the page that I'm looking at will be 'flipped' to one of my magazines. Flipboard is a wonderful tool. Get all the news that's of interest, create your own magazines to store it, share with friends and avoid the hassle of remembering where you put it.  You will also find some amazing photographers.  Check it out.
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