Planning Underway For Photography Vacation To Newfoundland!

The time continues to move closer to my 2016 photography-oriented vacation trip!  For the most part, I started this annual photography ritual back in 2007, with my trip to the National Parks of the West Coast, USA.  This was my first trip with a DSLR, my good old friend the Pentax K10D.  My photographic odyssey took me to Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen, Crater Lake, Mt. Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Olympic units of the NPS system!  It proved to be a learning experience in regards to photographic technique...primarily lighting and composition.  A quick outline of my annual trips follows:

  1. [2007] - National Parks and Monuments of the West Coast, USA
  2. [2008] - Australia (Northern Territory, New South Wales) and New Zealand (North Island)
  3. [2009] - Australia (South Australia, Victoria, and Tasmania)
  4. [2010] - Australia (Western Australia)
  5. [2011] - Canada (National Parks of the Canadian Rockies)
  6. [2012] - Australia (Queensland and New South Wales)
  7. [2013] - Hawaii (Big Island)
  8. [2014] - California (Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP, and Yosemite NP)
  9. [2015] - Hawaii (Maui)

So where will 2016 take me you ask?  This year I'll be off to Newfoundland-Labrador, Canada!  I'll actually be spending all my time on Newfoundland...Labrador will have to wait for another time.  I'm still trying to figure out what photographic equipment to bring with me.  I am weighing the possibility of buying a new Fujifilm X-Pro2 for the trip.  If not, I might opt for a couple of new weather-resistant lenses from Fuji:  XF16mmF1.4 R WR and/or XF35mmF2 R WR.

At any rate...I'll be opting for my Fujifilm gear:  Fujifilm X-Pro1, Fujifilm X-T1, and the Fujifilm X100S plus an assortment of lenses.  My biggest decision will be trying to decide on what analog gear to bring.  Should I go only with medium format...or both medium format and 35mm?  That is certainly the question!  The possible film cameras I'll be bringing include the following:

  • Bronica RF645
  • Fujfilm GF670 Pro
  • Voigtlander Perkeo I
  • Zeiss Ikon ZM
  • Leica M6

Luckily I don't have to make the decision right this very moment...but it will have to be made soon!  Whatever gear I end up taking, the trip to Newfoundland promises to be an experience of a lifetime!  I'll post further details of the trip as it approaches...and provide details and photos of my experiences!

Large Format Photography...Wisner 4x5 Technical Field Camera

I'm finally starting to get really serious about pursuing large format photography.  In my case...I will be concentrating on the 4x5 format.  I just purchased a Wisner 4x5 Technical Field Camera, off eBay from a seller in Ishinomakishi, Miyagi, Japan.  I feel it was a good investment.  I plan to get many years of use out of the photographic gem!  Here are some photos from the seller:

Wisner 4x5 Technical Field Camera (serial # 1210), made by Wisner Classic Mfg. Co., Inc., Marion, Massachusetts, USA.

Wisner 4x5 Technical Field Camera (serial # 1210), made by Wisner Classic Mfg. Co., Inc., Marion, Massachusetts, USA.

A Look Back For Something New...Revisiting RAW Images

Something new and exciting is waiting to be discovered in your photographic past!  Think back to a photo project completed five to ten years ago. Inside that project are RAW images…images that you either overlooked or have already processed and shared.  Don’t view those photos/projects as complete!  In the 5-10 years since they were taken, substantial improvements in both RAW processing software and your post-processing skills have opened up a whole world of new possibilities!  

I recently revisited photos taken during my 2008 trip to the Northern Territory of Australia…specifically my photos from West MacDonnell National Park, east of Alice Springs.  Looking back on some of my photos…it wasn’t hard to see “something new.”  When I say “something new”, I see new possibilities!  What could I possibly gain by taking another look at these RAW images?  It wasn’t long before I found out and was amazed!

A Walk Through Standley Chasm, West MacDonnell National Park, Northern Territory, Australia

Pentax K10D; Sigma 10-20mm lens @ 10mm; f9.5, 1/10 sec., ISO 100

One of my favorite photos was of a woman walking away from me in the narrow stream bed at the bottom of Standley Chasm.  The photo was originally taken in color and oriented as a portrait, capturing the towering cliffs on each side of the chasm.  Although I really liked my previous interpretation, lately I’ve been really getting into panoramic landscape scenes, specifically the 6x12 and 6x17 formats.  I decided to convert the image to black and white, while cropping it to the 6x17 format.  Adding more details to the highlights, lightening the shadows a bit, boosting contrast, and sharpening resulted in “something new.”  For a look back at the older version of this photo, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsj2vL8rQ.

For a look at my revisited RAW images, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsknHBpzo.

The bottom line is this…revisit RAW images from the past, you will probably find “something new!”

I just bought another camera...Wista Field 45DX!

I had the good fortune of finding a really nice 4x5" large format camera on eBay!  I'm adding a Wista Field 45DX to my collection of cameras!  The really cool thing about this purchase...are the accessories that were included:

  • Schneider Symmar-S 210mm F5.6 lens
  • (3) boxes of Kodak Portra 400 sheet film (10 sheets per box)
  • (5) 4x5 film holders
  • Sekonic Light Meter L-308S
  • loupe
  • 0.5 ft. shutter release

I'm not sure what type of wood it is made of...but it is either cherry wood, quince, or rosewood!  I can't wait to get started with this beauty.

 

Wista Field 45DX w/ Schneider Symmar-S 210mm F5.6 lens

Wista Field 45DX w/ Schneider Symmar-S 210mm F5.6 lens

Wista Field 45DX (closed and ready for transport)

Wista Field 45DX (closed and ready for transport)

Panoramic Photography...the Shen-Hao PTB617

As my interest in photography continues to grow...so do my interests in various film formats!  My return to film photography approximately two years ago is an action I do not regret.  Although I still enjoy digital photography, it is my interest in film photography that drives my passion.  In some ways, digital photography is way too easy and somewhat artificial to some degree.  It is easy to take a shot, look at your photo instantly, and decide to shoot again if the previous shot failed.  That really isn't an option in film photography.  Since digital photography happens at such a quick pace...sometimes I find myself just clicking the shutter, hoping to get a good shot by shear volume!  Going back to film photography, makes me think about photography in a whole new way....no more just putting the camera in aperture-priority mode, letting the camera take care of the rest.  Now the process is up to me!  

I just ordered the Shen-Hao PTB617 panoramic film camera.  The PTB617 is equipped with a roll film back that takes medium format 120 film producing massive negatives measuring 6 x 17 cm!  I also ordered two used large-format lenses.  My new camera kit includes the following:

Shen-Hao PTB617 camera

Fujinon SWD 90mm F5.6

Fujinon-W 150mm F5.6

Shen-Hao Fresnel 6 x 17

Gepe Professional Cable Release (20 in.)

Peak 15x Loupe

Harrison Classic Dark Cloth - Medium (54x58 in.)

Pelican 1500 OD Green Case

Shen-Hao PTB617 (source:  www.shen-hao.com)

New "Used" Cameras Added To My Collection

During my current vacation trip to Missouri, I have added the following cameras to my collection:

Canon FTb w/ Canon FD 50mm F1.8 S.C.     [35mm]

Pentax SP1000     [35mm]

Franka Rolfix w/ Schneider-Kreuzuank 105mm F4.5 Radionar     [120 format]

Kodak Six-20 Bullseye     [620 format]

Regula King Regula R w/ Steinheil Cassar S 45mm F2.8     [120 format]

Walz Walzflex I w/ Nitto Kogaku Co. Kominar 75mm F3.5     [120 format]

Zeiss Ikon "Mess" Ikonta 524/16 w/ Novar-Anstigmat 75mm F3.5     [120 format]


 

Day #2 North Along Eastern Flank of Sierra Nevada Mountains

After grabbing a quick breakfast in Bishop, CA, I continued my journey north.  The morning light illuminated the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountains brilliantly!  I made a quick side trip on the June Lake Loop, just off U.S. Highway 395.  The views along this loop were fantastic!  I was treated to fall colors reflecting off the lake and brilliant hues of yellow-leafed aspens on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.  I stopped off at the Mono Lake Interagency Visitor Center in Lee Vining, CA before continuing on to Mono Lake.  The lake was as charming as ever...bright blue waters contrasting sharply with the white calcium carbonate shoreline and the browns and blacks of the surrounding volcanic hills.  

June Lake, California  USA Fujifilm X-Pro1; XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS; f/16  1/35  200 ISO @ 174mm

June Lake, California  USA

Fujifilm X-Pro1; XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS; f/16  1/35  200 ISO @ 174mm

Mono Lake, California  USA Fujifilm X-Pro1; XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS; f/18  1/320  200 ISO @ 200mm

Mono Lake, California  USA

Fujifilm X-Pro1; XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS; f/18  1/320  200 ISO @ 200mm

A Trip To The Sierra Nevada Mountains!

After a busy year of work that included quite a bit of travel, I'm finally on vacation!  This year I'll be exploring two very different locales photographically...the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and the state of Missouri.  This post will deal exclusively with the California portion of the trip.  

Along the Mt. Whitney Portal Road outside of Lone Pine, California Fujifilm X100S

Along the Mt. Whitney Portal Road outside of Lone Pine, California

Fujifilm X100S

I packed up my rental, a nice Kia Sportage and departed my home in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area.  I was all ready for my 650 miles drive to my first night stop at Bishop, CA.  I packed several cameras for this trip:

Fujifilm X-Pro1; Fujifilm X-T1; Fujfilm X100S; Fujifilm X-S1; Pentax 67II, Bronica RF645, Voigtlander Perkeo I; Voigtlander Bessa I

I made my first diversion at Lone Pine, CA...diverting on to the Mt. Whitney Portal Road.  As I climbed higher and higher I passed through the Alabama Hills, closing in on the majestic Sierra Nevadas!  It wasn't long before I was putting to use my four of Fujifilm cameras.  The views were simply amazing.  The biggest difficulty in shooting was the angle of the sun.  Unfortunately it was late afternoon and my primary subject of interest, the Sierra Nevadas, were west of me!  I was able to ameliorate this issue by taking my shots perpendicular the suns direction.  Although it wasn't optimal...I was able to capture several really nice shots.  The Mt. Whitney Portal Road ended in a canyon containing monstrous trees.  Yes...this was the reward of vacation!

Base of Mt. Whitney, California  USA Fujifilm X-T1; XF14mmF2.8R

Base of Mt. Whitney, California  USA

Fujifilm X-T1; XF14mmF2.8R


When is the time "right" for photography?

When is the time "right" for photography?  That is quite an open-ended question.  Actually, the time is "right" whenever you are inclined or feel moved to take that shot.  However, sometimes the "right" time equals the "best" time!  If you find yourself at your favorite national park on a cold, windy, rainy, and dreary day...don't despair!  I've found that some of my best photos originate on just these kinds of days!  Take for example this photo.  I was at Glacier National Park, Montana...the weather was not necessarily the best for hiking...but it proved to be excellent for photography.  Often extreme weather conditions can add another dimension to an already beautiful scene!  

Glacier National Park, Montana              Bronica RF645; Zenzanon-RF 65mm F4; Kodak Ektar 100

Glacier National Park, Montana              Bronica RF645; Zenzanon-RF 65mm F4; Kodak Ektar 100

Enjoy the natural beauty...beware of the natural hazards!

It is only natural to be excited and get totally blown away by the natural beauty present at Glacier Natural Park.  Most visitors are quick to immerse themselves into nature, without any regards for safety!  Sure...every single time you hop out of your vehicle you are presented with a series of safety concerns...trips, slips, falls, other drivers, etc.  Looking at this scene, can you detect some possible natural hazards that may be ignored at first glance?  First and foremost is the remaining snowfield  perched above the raging waters of the snowmelt fueled stream.  Many times, both before and after this shot, people ignored the posted warning signs and wandered on to the snowfield.  At any moment, a person walking on the snowfield could fall through a weak spot...plunging quickly to the underlying stream, meeting death via the fall, hypothermia, or drowning.  So the next time you are out enjoying nature...look around...identify potential hazards, and keep safe!  

Bronica RF645; Zenzanon-RF 65mm F4; Kodak Ektar 100