Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nothing stays the same

While I may have played around with video cameras in the past, I have always been strict that my working camera was photos only. The trend of having cameras that can shoot photos and video struck me as a compromise; where both "sides" were not optimal.

But as time has passed, I am understanding the appeal more and more. There are times when a still image can't convey the scene to it's maximum and being able to quickly switch over to video would be very advantageous.

Now, as regular readers will know, I currently shoot with a rather aged Nikon DSLR. One that does not have video. I do however have a little pocket sized Sony that does have video on it. Which is all well and good but the image quality is not really there for publishing and/printing. It only shoots in JPG and to me, "overcooks" the image processing. Anyway, I would rather have everything in the one body to keep a consistent look and feel. Plus, the lack of switching between cameras means less to carry, which my shoulders would be very appreciative of.

Of course, this will nescesitate upgrading my primary camera. Which is financially out of reach at the moment, but it does give me a chance to decide on what upgrade path to take. I am currently shooting a DX format camera and am wanting to go "full frame" so whichever route I take will eventually mean all new lenses too. So I am also considering switching brands! (shocked face)

Ever since I really got into photography, and reading photo magazines, I dreamt of owning Nikon gear. And for the last 10 years of so I have. Yet today I am not sure if I want to keep on going down that route. Currently there is only one Nikon body I feel would meet my needs; and even it is starting to age, with no signs of a refresh or redesign. That and the fact Nikon no longer seems to be innovating, plus a slew of quality control issues with several bodies makes me feel like looking elsewhere.

Now I can hear some of you saying go Canon. And while they are good cameras, plus currently​ the number 1 brand with professionals, they are also not really innovating. And yes, I did consider switching to Canon but ultimately decided against it.

In fact, my current train of thought is a little more radical. I'm looking at going "mirrorless" and switching to Sony. The a7 II (a7R II or a7 II) bodies from Sony are looking really interesting and with the latest firmware, they have overcome a lot of the initial issues. And with the release of their new a9 body, they are seriously becoming a contender in the professional arena. Also, they are continuing to expand their lens collection; they already have the the three lenses I would be wanting, covering 16mm through 200mm. And on top of that, the overall costs would be pretty similar to what I would be looking at by sticking with Nikon or switching​ to Canon.

There is also one other reason I'm looking at Sony. They have a great app for my phone and tablet that provides full remote control of their cameras. No more having to purchase or carry separate remote controls is a nice prospect. It also means, if I shoot in JPG format, I can transfer images straight out of the camera and post to Instagram. A interesting proposition to traveling light and not having to pull out my laptop to download, edit and then in turn transfer the images to my phone so that I can share them.

Anyway, this is all a "pipedream" at the moment until I can gather the funds to upgrade. Who knows, Nikon may surprise me and tempt me to stay. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Back to basics

I've been undertaking a lot of introspection lately and revisiting where it all began for me and photography. At times the acquisition of new gear and the pursuit of new styles, techniques and attempts to specialize can distance you from your true, creative spark.

Without belaboring the point, I have been deconstructing my work and working to retrain my creative eye. Examining pattern, color, texture, as well as tone and contrast of black and white images. I'm also not setting any particular genre to what I photograph as I want to not set any artificial restrictions on myself.

Now I know that this is not necessarily going to producing many spectacular images or much to share here or on my website but that's not my intention anyway. This is something that should lead to new work, mainly projects for myself to build my portfolio and website.

The first couple of images in all this came by way of my macro lens. Both were images taken in natural light and utilizing long exposures to achieve the needed depth of field. The first of these is of a maple tree seed where I wanted to capture the texture and subtle coloring.

maple seed

The second image was more for color and shape and to add an extra challenge to the natural light long exposure is that this was a honeysuckle flower outdoors. Took several attempts before the wind was still enough to not affect the image.

honeysuckle flower

And then on a more mundane level, I finally completed setting up SEO on my new website. It was something I kept telling myself I needed to do but kept putting off. Well, I can now report back that it is complete. I even went as far as setting up website analytics so I can see how well it is doing and if I need to fine tune anything.