Friday, July 23, 2010

3 New Things

To make this image I did 3 things I don't do often:

1. I used a Zeiss lens (my first foray into Zeiss glass).
2. I used manual focus to photograph my daughter.
3. I used focus stacking on a hand held portrait image.

Lets talk about #3. I took a series of 4 image, each with the focus plane slight shifted going from the left eye to the right eye in focus. Just for kicks I loaded up all four into Photoshop, auto-aligned them and auto-blended them. To my pleasant surprise it worked beautifully. Now I have an image with both eyes in focus.

Earlier this week, I got my hands on two Zeiss lenses, the ZF 35 f/2 and the ZF 100 f/2 Makro Planar. I've heard people describe the way that Zeiss lenses render an image as everything from superlative to merely 'different'. I went the ZF lenses since I could use them on my D3s as well as my Canon bodies with the CameraQuest adapter.

The Zeiss lenses are definitely different and whatever they do I like it. I've been shooting with them all week in an effort to try and understand how they render an image and where it'll be most useful. For color images I don't see a huge difference. Compared to my Nikon zooms, the Zeiss lenses have slightly less shadow contrast which means more shadow detail is recorded, this I like very much.

Its the B&W images where I see the biggest difference. First, there's a qualitative aspect to the Zeiss images that I prefer. I think its because there's a smoothness to the tones which other lenses don't have. My suspicion is that this smoothness comes from the lens transmitting light across the visible spectrum evenly (as opposed to having certain wavelengths where some is absorbed more than other wavelengths).

Maybe, I'm totally out to lunch, if others have any theories I'm open to ideas. Color imagery on the D3s is still sublime. I find that with the D3s' ability to reproduce accurate color even at high ISO, the Zeiss lenses are a perfect combination for image making in low light levels.

I was very skeptical as to what kind of success I would have with manual focus. Much to my surprise, I found that I was able to get a significant number of in focus images by focus bracketing (which again is made easier by the high speed and gigantic buffer of the D3s). The super smooth long throw of the focus ring on the Zeiss lenses makes manual a lot easier than a lot of auto focus lenses I've tried in the past.

I've tried using the lenses on the 1Ds3 as well. Though I've had success on a tripod, I haven't had as much success with it hand held as I have with the D3s.

This experience now has me really curious about the other alternative glass out there. Some photographers have described certain lenses as having character or a soul. I understood what this meant before, a few Canon lenses I own, I've felt have had a certain character, the 85L, 200 f/2, and the 800 just to name a few. The Zeiss 35 f/2 and 100 Makro Planar I would definitely say have character. So what else is out there?

I would love to play with a Leica M9 and a slew of Leica lenses, but that is definitely out of my price league. I'm planning on building a "poor man's Leica" using a Sony NEX-3 and some Voigtlander glass. I'll post my experience as it grows.

For the next week though, I'll be at SIGGRAPH 2010 in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Food!!

This was taken on my Lac le Jeune trip one partially overcast day. A couple of other photographers and myself spent about 2 hours photographing these Flickers as the mom and dad took turns bringing back food to the chicks.

The bottom of the wing was cropped slightly in the original image so I had to do some reconstructive surgery in Photoshop. Not something I do often with my images but for this one it seemed worthwhile.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/7.1, 1/3200s, ISO 1250.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


After many months, I finally had the chance to do some astro imaging last night. The necessary confluence of factors were present to make it possible. First, we had clear skies with good transparency. Second, I wasn't wiped out from chasing Maya around. Once again, being only 200 ft. above sea level and living near so much light makes widefield imaging very difficult.

Technical Specs: Canon 450D (modified /w Hutech LPS filter), 50 f/1.2L, f/4, 8s subs (10 exposures).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Waved Albatross

The Waved Albatross is also known as the Galapagos Albatross. I have slowly been going through more of my Galapagos images, but there are so many of them.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II @ 115mm, f/4.5, 1/1000s, ISO 400.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls is in Olympic National Park. Fortunately, it was cloudy the day this was taken (though not raining), as I prefer an overcast day for waterfall photography than a sunny one. I had to go around the railing to get into what I thought was the best place to photograph this waterfall.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 24 TS-E II, f/13, 5s, ISO 100.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Grand Galapagos for the iPad

My first iPad application is now available for purchase through the iTunes App Store.

Feel free to send any comments, suggestions or questions my way.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Olympic Sunset

We arrived at Port Angeles today and after dinner I went up to Hurricane Ridge to shoot at sunset.

Technical Specs: Canon 1Ds3, 70-200 f/2.8 IS II @ 165mm, f/8, 1/5s, ISO 100.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day to all my Canuck's out there. Seemed only appropriate to post this picture today. We were fortunate last night as it ended up being reasonably calm and had good light. I happened to be in the ideal position to capture this Loon while flapping.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D4, 800 f/5.6 IS, f/8, 1/4000s, ISO 1250.