For the second post of my blog-a-day week I’ll share what I consider one of the loveliest spots near Waterloo, the crossing of the Conestogo River on Three Bridges Road. Located just west of St. Jacobs and a short drive from where I work, it’s a great spot to go during lunch or at the end of the day to grab a few shots.
In the summer, the river is shallow and slow-moving. In the late winter and early spring with a heavy melt, it’s a torrent and the low bridge is lost completely beneath the water. Regardless of the seasonal changes, I’m still amazed at how many different types of photos I can get at the same place. It just goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to get great shots (or pretty good shots, at least).
I used a wide range of equipment for these photos. The bodies (Nikon D300s, D7000 and N80, Bronica ETRS) were paired with lenses (Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, Nikon 35 f/1.8, Nikon 60 f/2.8G Micro, Nikon 85 f/1.8G, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, Tokina 50-135 f/2.8, Sigma 50 f/1.4, Bronica MC 40 f/4, Bronica EII 75/2.8). On the self portraits I used Nikon SB-700 and SB-900 strobes with CLS control.
I’ll give a prize to the person who gets the most correct gear-to-photo matches!
Driving to Guelph last week I came across this flooded field with just the right clouds and just the right lighting. Each shot is a high dynamic range (HDR) composite of three images separated with a stop of exposure difference between each. Yes, that’s my Mazda 3 parked up ahead in the first image.
I should also mention that I was on my way to a formal dress-up cocktail party, so I was in a full suit and dress shoes. I’m sure the passing cars must have had a laugh…
In this fourth and final post from the recent batch of developed film I’ll show some scans from a roll of 35mm Kodak Portra 160. I shot these with the Nikon N80, an autofocus film body that can handle the most modern Nikon lenses with AF-S and VR. That means that the lenses I use on my digital bodies are compatible with the N80. Even more exciting is that, since I normally shoot with a DX (cropped) digital sensor, this is my only opportunity to use my FX prime lenses as they were intended. Photos from three lenses are shown in this post. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G are both fantastic lenses on both DX and FX digital sensors and here on 35mm film. I also used the AF-S 35mm f/1.8G here and while it is a DX lens the image circle is about big enough to work on 35mm although the corners often vignette depending on aperture and focus distance.
The roll of Portra (as well as the others in the previous posts) was developed at Dwayne’s in the USA. I had them make prints of this roll and it is interesting to compare how my scans and digital editing compare to a standard print. Often they are quite similar in that we both agree on colour balance and brightness. I tend to prefer a bit more saturation and contrast than Portra provides so I enhanced both on many of the images using Photoshop.
This week’s oldie-but-goodie is a simple, straightforward and totally spontaneous photo taken on a walk to the grocery store. It’s also a perfect example of why I try to take my camera everywhere with me.
Street photography is an art form that I (and many others) romanticize. From Henri Cartier-Bresson (the father of photojournalism, according to Wikipedia) to the recently discovered of Vivian Maier (who I recommend every green, experienced or even jaded photographer study) to the modern hipster photographer, I have this romantic vision of a confident, passionate and skilled artist. They turn everyday life into images that I can stare into for hours.
Street photography is an art form that I try to succeed at but rarely do. I’ve tried to “shoot from the hip”, by setting the camera to a small aperture and wide field of view and causally holding it down chest level. Usually what I get are out of focus images of people’s shoulders or store fronts. I’ve tried standing way back with a long telephoto and taking sniper shots, often getting the ‘why is that guy with the massive lens taking my picture?’ look.
Generally, the best images have come from confidently and casually approaching an interesting scene. I make myself and the camera visible. I smile. I say thanks. Hiding the camera or hiding myself just doesn’t work as well. This method helped me get some of my favourite street shots during last year’s trip to China.
So… the photo. As I said, I was walking to the grocery store with the D300s and Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.8 DX. This lens has a near-normal field of view and is small, light and unassuming. As I crossed the entrance to the alley the man rode past me on his bike. I turned, followed and took 3-5 shots. I didn’t have to edit the shot much, just a black and white conversion and some contrast.
D300s with AF-S 35mm f/1.8 DX, f/7.1 1/650s ISO 200.
Nat and Lauren, some of my best friends, have a new member of the family as of February 7. Easton Nathanael is an adorable baby boy and I feel so lucky to have met him when he was just 8 hours old. Lauren and Nat had Mitzy and me over on Saturday to take some photos of the new family of 4. I haven’t had a lot of experience with baby photography but I love shooting their kids. Their daughter, Harper, has become quite the photogenic toddler especially now that she’s warmed up to me. Here is one of my favourites (D7000 with AF-S 35mm f/1.8 @ f/2.8 1/200s ISO 400):To give a bit of editing history, here is the image when first imported into Lightroom.In Lightroom I did a few tweaks to prepare the shot for editing in Photoshop, namely
highlight reduction/shadow boost
reduced clarity/increased sharpness
‘Camera Portrait’ camera calibration
This is how the photo looked coming out of Lightroom:In Photoshop I removed some dry skin and red patches (under the nose and the lines on the shoulder). I used the color correction tool to shift some of the magenta tones in the skin towards the green and some local reduction of red saturation. I tried out a new Photoshop preset (a gift from a friend) to get the final look.