Just some portraits

Yesterday was the first time in a good while that I broke out the light-stands, umbrella’s and backdrops to do some portraits.  Since the Nikon gear is all sold, I was relying on only my micro 4/3 gear.  Without going into an overwhelming amount of detail, I’ll just say that I’m very happy with the results.  The compact camera system did not disappoint in the slightest.  I got the shots I wanted with no fuss from the gear.  The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is simply superb for this type of shoot.  It is quickly becoming my new favorite lens.

Once some inside shots were done, we moved outside since it a nice overcast day.  This was shot with a single flash (camera left) with a small softbox on it.

Today I went off and rode the bike trail from Connellsville to Ohiopyle and back.  Total mileage was 35.  The weather was beautiful and temperature perfect.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t focus on photography too much and didn’t really get anything worth saving.  I have a few shots I like, but just enough for me not to delete them.  Here is one of the only ones I thought might be worth showing.

A few from the weekend

With the weekend about over and the rest of the family in bed, I’m sitting in my lounge chair and going over some of the pictures from the weekend.  There weren’t many to go through, as I have been trying to be very selective about what pictures I take and even more selective about which ones are actually kept.  It’s not about quantity, but quality.  Some have asked how I get the shots and that I must be very lucky or very good.  I normally respond with I’d rather be lucky than good and I don’t think I’m either.

A different thought came to mind though, it’s really about being ready.  The 3 shots below are all pure candid photography while either walking, visiting or playing in the backyard.  None of them were set up or the subjects coerced into the pose.  These are the result of two important things, having a camera on hand and being aware of what is going on to capture the moment.  Now that my daughter has found out the wonders of being outside (gotta love the abnormally warm March weather here), we have been venturing outside and walking all around town.  Normally, I try to sling a camera, just in case.

This first shot was taken in a neighbors house that a family member was dog and cat sitting for.  Since Brooke loves dogs and cats, we took her in to visit.  This was the result.

Brooke walked over to the chair, pointed excitedly at the cat and yelled to lift her up.  So we sat her down next to the cat.  Suddenly, she got that twinkle in her eye and a mischievous grin on her face, so I knew what was about to happen.  Up came the camera and this was the result.  The cats face is priceless and contrasts greatly with the peaceful face of Brooke.  The cat took it well and was not harmed in the making of this picture…

On the way home, there were some dogs in a yard barking and chasing each other and Brooke just had to stop and watch.  The sun was behind some clouds, so the light was beautifully diffused and I could shoot wide open for the blurred background.

The last picture was right when we got home and were playing in the driveway.  Looking up, our cat was apparently feeling left out and was trying to get our attention.  Even though she’s scared of being outside, I think she wanted out.

We didn’t let her out.

So there are my 3 favorite pictures from the weekend, none of them possible if I wouldn’t have had a camera slung over a shoulder while on a walk.  The kicker is that these all happened within a short time of each other.  Once again, it’s not about having the best camera, but having a camera with you.


Winter is over!

Ok, so I may be jumping the gun a bit.  I can only hope winter is over and the warm weather we are supposed to get this week stays.  Today was a perfect day to get out outside and stay there.  After Church, I packed up the bike and went for a quick 12 mile ride.  It was the first ride on my new cyclocross bike and I wanted to make sure everything was set up right before I went much further.

Since my phone has a gps and I downloaded the MyTracks app for free, I put a mount on the stem to hold the phone.  The mount came from RAM-Mounts and is top notch in quality and fit.  It’s made in the USA and works great.

Bringing up the rear of the bike is the trusty Domke F-5XB bag bungee wrapped to the rear rack.  The trail was a bit muddy today, so the bag got a bit dirty.

This setup is great for long rides that combine any photography.  I can’t wait to get out on a longer ride earlier in the day.  After a quick 5.5 miles, I turned it around and headed home so when Brooke woke up, we could take her to the park.  We’ve taken her outside as much as possible in the past week since the weather has been warmer and she just loves it.  Bringing her back inside is quite a challenge, but with the promise of dinner, it does get easier.





A little bit of change

This past month has been like living in a whirlwind with everyone going on.  I wish I could post some mind blowing images or say that I’ve been working on a large project, but I can’t and I haven’t been.  My real job has me working more hours, lots of household projects to get done and just trying to keep up with everything else.  So, with everything hitting at once, something had to give, and it was the photography.

In the past month I’ve only picked up the camera a few times, and it was always for shots of the family.  Not that family shots aren’t entertaining, it’s just different.  The warmer weather has me feeling excited for the coming camping trips, biking adventures and the long hikes we hope to embark on.  Tonight, we took a quick stroll around the neighborhood since it was in the 60’s.

Now onto the title of the post regarding ‘change’.  A few weeks ago I sold all of my Nikon DSLR gear so that I could fully invest in the micro 4/3 system.  Blasphemy some will say.  Some days I still can’t believe I sold it all, but it always comes back to what worked for me.  Truthfully, I haven’t used the Nikon for months.  Since I got the G3, the big full frame beast has sat quietly on the shelf for 99% of the time.  The only time it was put into service was for a portrait shoot.  What I learned was, when given the option of carrying a camera system that is 1/4 of the size of the other, but gives 90% as good image quality, I opted for the smaller system just about every time.

Once I realized that and thought about the where, when and how I take pictures, it became a very clear answer as to what system is better for me.  Sure the D700 is a professional level camera capable of outstanding image quality, but I never even came close to fully utilizing it.  Add to that the cost of quality full frame glass and the overall heft of the system, and I knew what I had to do.  So the D700 and lenses have been sold.  Time to move on and make the most out of a single camera system.

Besides… with the selling of the camera came the purchase of a new bike…


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