Images currently under discussion in various photo forums. This page changes constantly, so come back whenever you can. If you get the same stuff as last time, try clicking "Refresh" to bring up the new stuff.

"The Fun Ride Home"

For them and for me! Sitting just across the aisle in an Edmonton city bus with the Nikon CP990, twenty five shots were gathered over a ten minute ride. There was singing, laughing (lots), armpit sniffing, checking watches and purse contents and snuggling (lots). Shot with the equivalent of a 24mm lens, very close and out in the open, but never intruding. More "street" photography at http://www.larry-bolch.com/portfolio/street/index.htm


"Taber, we have ignition"

Some Nikon CP5000 shots from Roc Lake VI, the largest high powered rocket launching event ever in Canada. It took place south of Taber, Alberta, about 75km north of the US border.

The first shot is of a small model rocket at the moment of ignition, and beside it is the monster of the meet, a four meter high rocket with the most power ever launched in Canada outside of the military. Next off pad four are two shots - the same rocket at the point of ignition and about to leave the frame 1/3 second later. Finally a beautifully painted, very high velocity rocket trying for a personal-best altitude record.

They were shot with the CP5k, and 2x extender. Upon the start of the countdown, the lens was pointed at the pad and the shutter half-depressed to lock in focus and exposure, then the image was recomposed to include sky. The moment the first smoke or flame appeared the shutter was depressed the rest of the way. The camera was set to shoot three image bursts at 1/3 second intervals as above.

More shots from Roc Lake VI at http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/rocketry/

Scenes from the surrounding area at http://www.larry-bolch.com/prairie/


"Time Travel via Image Processing"

To the best of my knowledge, the classic Rodenstock Imagon, beloved of the Pictorialists is out of production. However,the pearly highlights are readily available in your image processing program. If you have heard of the Orton process, this is it in reverse. More examples and a simple "How To..." at

http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/pictorial/

"Panoramics"

First shots with a recently acquired fisheye lens, turned into 360° panoramas, that include everything from the horizon to the zenith. In Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, crop to the edge of the circular image. Run the Polar Coordinates filter, with polar to rectangular chosen. Resize the image on the horizontal axis only, using a factor of 314%. More at Panoramas. Also see a survey of solutions to superwide and panoramic photography


"Northern Sky"

Pretty much the practical limit of the Nikon CP5000. A full minute exposure of the Aurora Borealis at f-2.8 and ISO800 with Noise Reduction on. This was shot a few minutes before midnight, about 65km from Edmonton, Alberta Canada, so the glow of the city lights was minimal.


"D200 Noise"

A series of twilight shots a each ISO setting with the Nikon D200 camera viewed at 100%. In the image above, the left side of the image was exposed at ISO3200 and the right at ISO100. View the series.


"D300 Noise"

While making the decision to purchase a D300, I was not concerned about how good image quality could be obtained. This has been documented in many reviews and I have absolute confidence it can deliver.

Since a lot of my shooting is decisive moment, available darkness work, I was more interested in the worst it could do. I trotted over to the local Nikon shop with my 18-200mm zoom and CF card. The camera is not set up for me, so I went with the default settings, shooting JPEGs with auto white balance and no flash. The lighting is simply the fluorescent tubes in the store. There is probably some noise reduction turned on, but it is unobtrusive. I used the lens at its extreme 200mm, with the aperture wide-open at f-5.6, which gave me an exposure of 1/200th of a second. Since this is the equivalent of 300mm, depth of field is minimal.

The above crop is the actual pixels at 100%. The image below shows the area cropped from the complete exposure. Luminance noise is minimal considering that this is ISO3200. One can perceive slight chrominance noise in her complexion, but again, minimal. There is no processing other than cropping and of course, reduction in the image below. For web use, the reduced version really shows no evidence at all, that it was shot with high ISO. If this is the worst the camera can do, the decision has been made to buy it.

UPDATE: The camera has been purchased and has exceeded expectations. More testing was done with a variety of ISO settings and both manual AI-S lenses as well as autofocus lenses, all in challenging lighting conditions. Results can be seen at

http://www.larry-bolch.com/d300_tests/


"Hutterite Children"

The Roc Lake VI high powered rocketry meet was held near a vast Hutterite colony. Many of the members attended. Nikon CP5000. More at http://www.larry-bolch.com/prairie/hutterites.htm


"Lightning"

These shots were taken with the lens stopped down to f-8.0 the smallest aperture. The exposure was one minute with ISO100 with Noise Reduction turned on. For white balance I pointed the lens directly at a streetlight an did a preset white balance off the light itself, rendering the building very close to its natural colour and turning the sky an intense blue. Nikon CP5000. For more examples see Lightning


Nicole at the net

"Volleyball"

Shot with Nikon CP5000. Gym was sparsely lit by fluorescent tubes high above, yielding very low light levels. The sensitivity was set on ISO800 and the Exposure Compensation to -1 stop giving an effective ISO1600, which was easily handled by Levels in Photoshop. Exposure was 1/125th of a second at f-4.8, the widest stop available at maximum telephoto zoom - equivalent to 85mm. The camera was manually focused at 30 feet, with sufficient depth of field to cover the whole playing area. The shutter was set to Quick Response, and that coupled to manual focus, eliminated any feeling of shutter lag.

Grain and noise was nearly eliminated by moving from RGB to Lab Color Mode, and Gaussian blurring the Lightness channel with a radius of 0.6 and the a and b channels with a radius of 3.0 (not 0.3). The useful range is from 0.4 through 0.9 with the Lightness channel and 1.0 through 3.0 with the colour channels.

Colour balance and dynamic range were done in Levels, in RGB mode - dealing with each channel individually - and finally the image was returned to Lab mode and the Lightness channel was given unsharp masking with a radius of 0.3 and a sharpness of 400. The a and b channels are left unsharpened for the natural look of film-like accutance.

The only detrimental impact of "pushing the film" is a lack of detail in the dark uniforms, which is quite acceptable as a tradeoff to terminal motion blur. See below for ISO3200 and the 2x extender.

"Cheer"

After playing most of the game, Nicole gave her place on the court to a less experienced player. On the bench, her participation was no less intense.

To get the cheer, I switched to the TC-E2 telephoto lens component, giving the equivalent to a 170mm lens on a 35mm camera. Light was even worse where she now sat, so the camera was set to -2.0EV giving an effective ISO3200. This still allowed a shutter speed of 1/125th at the maximum aperture of f-4.8. Camera motion would have been difficult to avoid at that shutter speed and focal length, but was neutralized by the use of a monopod. With a two stop "push" noise is more evident. This is pretty much the limit to which the camera can be used.


"Sharing an Image"

Several issues in this image. It was a test of the RAW format using underexposure to test the limits. The setting was ISO800 and Exposure Compensation was set for -1.0EV producing an effective exposure index of ISO1600 and 1/6th of a second exposure at f-2.8. Using the RAW loader in Photoshop CS showed considerable shadow detail, to the point that shadows actually had to be set manually.

The image was opened three times - once balancing the background, secondly balancing Steven Wolver, centre, and the general foreground area. Finally it was opened to balance Craig Makarowski on the right. The images were combined through the technique detailed at auto-bracketing and layering elsewhere on the site. It appears that with the new Photoshop CS loader and the ability to do all processing in 48-bit workspace does offer an advantage when RAW is used under extreme circumstances. The image was shot in a horrendous mix of neon colours with a little bit of incandescent. Even though Craig and Stephen were sitting side by side, each one needed a quite different colour balance from the background..

Finally it was an image posted in response to extreme wide angle photography. This image was shot with the WC-E68 lens component on a Nikon CP5000 digital camera, providing the equivalent to a 19mm super-wide on a 35mm camera. When composing the image, I wanted a good bit of the colourful environment, minimal foreshortening distortion on the people and great emphasis on the camera - the object of their attention. To avoid grotesque heads, they were composed as close to the centre of the image as was practical. Since the camera was only inches away, there was no problem whatever making it the centre of attention.

The shot was entirely spontaneous, with no posing whatever. For that matter, the subjects were barely aware of the camera at all even though it was only inches away. The CP5000 is ideal for this sort of photography. There is no need to bring it to one's eye which always attracts attention and intrudes. It has a swing and swivel LCD monitor, so the camera can be held in any convenient place for shooting. It was resting on the table in this case.


Pub at West Edmonton Mall

"Pub"

Preview of a new printmaking style currently being explored. Though there is a resemblance to pen aquatints, it is purely a photographic technique. It was shot using the auto-bracketing and layering technique described in detail elsewhere on the site.

Update: Now on line, there is a portfolio of photo aquatint images.


Willie

"Willie Nelson"

Shot at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. It was shot for his record company and made into a large poster for display in record shops. Nikon F3 - 200mm f-2.8 on film. More models and performers at http://www.larry-bolch.com/portfolio/models&performers/index.htm


"Fireworks"
(obviously)

Edmonton Alberta, July 1, 2003. Nikon CP5000 ISO100, f-8.0 at 2 seconds. WC-E68 - 19mm equivalent. Noise Reduction on. I wanted to show the trees in the foreground, bridge on the right and buildings along the ridge to give a sense of dimension and location. The display by itself does not mean much otherwise, since most fireworks shots look pretty much alike.

Click the fireworks above, to see more Canada Day Pictures.


Edmonton Heritage Festival

A three day celebration of ethnic food, dance, music, costume and cultures from around the world that have made Edmonton the rich and diverse society that it is. The festival is a great treat to photographers as well. For more, please click on the picture above or the URL below.

http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/heritage/


"Raven"

Had the raven been silhouetted against the sky, there would be no detail in its feathers, since the automatic exposure system would have averaged the exposure for the brightness of the sky. The contrast between raven tone and sky tone would be too great for photographic materials to handle.

In this case there was a dark forest in the shadow of a mountain across the valley. I picked an angle on the bird so that the forest became the background. This tricked the system into averaging for the darkness. It resulted in the perch being highly over exposed, but that was acceptable under the circumstances. Nikon CP990. More on ways to prevent automatic cameras from being fooled at http://www.larry-bolch.com/automatic-cameras/


"Trail"

A hiking/biking trail through bit of wilderness in the midst of a great city and an excellent place to try a new 12-24mm Nikkor wide-angle zoom. Click on the picture or LINK to view a small portfolio of the beauty of this magic place.


"The Prophet"

Backlighting from a dramatic sky and fill flash at a 1:1 ratio provides a cataclysmic "Old Testament" look to a gentle friend. Shot with a Nikon CP990.


"From Pansy to Infinity"

A wise person in the Nikon CP5000 forum called the camera itself the essential accessory for the WC-E68 super-wide lens component. This incredible lens converts the normal 28mm->85mm equivalent in a a 19mm->58mm equivalent lens. It has coverage in the 100° range. It is almost impossible to shoot an out-of-focus image with it. In this shot, the near pansy at the bottom of the frame was less than 1-1/2" from the front element of the lens, but the trees in the background are also sharp. The camera was set at f-8.0 for maximum depth of field. Many buyers of the camera have written that the lens was the single most important reason for purchasing the camera - myself included.


"Angel and John"

The opposite of the above. In this case I was using the equivalent to an 85mm lens with the aperture wide open on my Nikon CP5000 to limit depth of field to the absolute minimum. However, since the lens is actually only 21.4mm in focal length and the maximum aperture at this length is only f4.8, there is still great depth of field even when the subject is this close.

Angel is a young Grand Eclectus parrot - about six months old in the photo - sweet and gentle, but with an air of dignity as well. A lovely and beautiful creature. More of John and his birds at John Lichtenbelt.


"John Lichtenbelt"

An ambient light portrait of an octogenarian friend. John is a brilliant geologist who has never gotten around to retiring. He is also a noted authority on parrots, with a number of them sharing his Calgary, Alberta home.

I had the opportunity to shoot a batch of informal portraits of him in June 2004. We were in his kitchen, with a north window providing the main light. Fill was from behind and to the camera-side of his face, distant windows in his living room coming in through the kitchen door.

The camera was handheld, but steadied on the edge of his table. The ISO setting was 400, giving an exposure around 1/8th of a second at f-4.8. The focal length of the lens was approximately that of a normal lens on a 35mm camera. Noise reduction was not turned on, since that causes a pause between exposures, and I wanted to be able to react to his reactions. The occasional hot pixel was zapped with the clone tool in Photoshop.

Since the shutter speed was quite low, a lot of exposures were done, and those with profound motion blur deleted. The goal was a single definitive portrait, but there were more than half-dozen that easily fit the bill both in content and photographic quality.

I wanted the pictures to be unposed, unselfconscious, completely natural. Thus I used no flash and the "stealth" qualities of the CP5000 made it completely non-intrusive. I occasionally glanced at the monitor to make sure he was still in the frame, but otherwise shot looking directly at him. This is commonly how I shoot. I NEVER dwell in the viewfinder. We interacted as though the camera did not exist.


"Front - or Rear - Curtain Flash"

One evening after our shift was over, my colleague Pan and I were discussing front or rear curtain flash. This like so many terms in photography has become universal even when it has no direct meaning.

With a focal plane shutter, the front curtain traverses just in front of the film exposing it to light. If all goes well, a second curtain traverses at the right moment later, covering the film and ending the exposure. If the flash goes off when the first curtain has just made its trip, it is front curtain flash. If it goes off just before the second curtain makes its journey, it is rear curtain flash. Of course a lot of cameras have between-lens-shutters, so the term makes no sense whatever in that context.

So front curtain flash = flash at the beginning of the exposure. Rear curtain flash = flash at the end of the exposure. We do this just to baffle newbies - and ourselves.

Pam and I went down to the parking lot with a flash unit and filter, camera and tripod in hand. Since she was infinitely prettier than I, she played the role of the model, leaving me to do the grunt work.

In this test, the flash was fired manually. We measured the light with an accurate light meter and adjusted the aperture to give a four second exposure. The idea was that I would trip the shutter and immediately trigger the flash - as if front curtain flash. As she slowly walked forward leaving a smear of motion across the classic vehicle we chose for the set, I would pop an 85B filter on the flash and make another exposure just before the shutter closed - equivalent to rear curtain flash.

This effect is now quite easy to do since a lot of cameras include it. It is the sort of effect that art directors think of in their middle of the night hallucinogenic period, and models are even capable of executing if the shooter has a lot of patience - unless the model is also a great shooter like Pam who groked the whole gestalt, in California-speak.

It is so hokey that if a shooter uses it more than once in a decade, it can be considered terminally cliché, and tacky beyond words. If the magazine is paying over $500 for the shoot, it is clever, innovative and terminally creative. In magazine photography, money is a great and unassailable affirmation of the freshness and brilliance of even the most gauche of ideas.

If the camera you are considering lacks rear curtain sync, should you reject it? Yes, but only if you really want to embarrass yourself in front of real shooters by doing a bunch of cliché shots with it.


Initial test shots with the new f/3.5-5.6 28-300mm Nikkor lens on my D700 camera.. The lens is very sharp, unparalleled in versatility and extremely well priced.

28-300mm


Some shots with the 28-300mm and a couple of fast primes wide open, to allow selective focus with the Nikon D700 full frame camera. As well as the 28-300mm, I shot with the a 105mm f/1.8 AI-S Nikkor (which shows up in the data as a 100mm lens) and a 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor lens. The photographs were made at the March 2011 meeting of Amicue.

Grandmother Karen hands baby Alexis to Lorraine, while mother Kristine looks on.

A collection of photographs made during the first months of owning the new Fujifilm X100 camera. A family, a club, tests and people on the street. A modern take on the classic compact rangefinder cameras of the film era brought perfectly up to date for 2011. Ideal for candid, street and decisive-moment shooting.

X100-First Images


All three lenses for the Fujifilm X-Pro1 have arrived and they got their first outing at the June 2012 AmiCUE meeting. The goal was to test candid, decisive-moment shooting under low-light conditions, using them at the widest apertures. The X-Pro1 has an APS-C sized sensor so the 18mm has the equivalent coverage of a 27mm full-frame lens, the 35mm is equal to a 53mm and the 60mm is equal to a 90mm allowing substantial selective focus. Camera and the three lenses only weigh a total of 967 grams.
X-Pro1—Initial Shots.


A number of people have asked in forums if the X-Pro1 would work for sports, and the answer has been a resounding "No". I had an opportunity to go with a family to watch their son play in a Peewee league game (10-11 year-olds.) Click through to the gallery and draw your own conclusions.

I shot with the excellent f/2.4 60mm XF Fujinon. This was an arena in a far northern Alberta town, and not nearly as brightly lit as an NHL arena would be. None the less, I was able to get 1/500-1/1000th at f/4.0, ISO6400—adequate to the task. Focused on the goal, I found that f/4.0 produced adequate sharpness all the way to the opposite boards. It was necessary to shoot through the safety glass, which certainly was not of optical quality. None the less any parent who shot in these conditions could not help but be impressed with the quality of images that can be captured.

Most significant was the performance of the camera's optical finder. The area covered by the bright frame representing the image area is much smaller than the over-all view. Thus it was easy to see what was happening outside the image area, so one could shift instantly to grab peaks of action that would otherwise be unseen. This feature alone probably doubled or tripled the number of keepers.

http://larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/hockey/


The Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens quickly became my most used lens with the Fujifilm X-Pro1. It is extremely sharp across the whole image area, even when at its widest aperture. The combination of the X-Pro1 and 60mm provides a non-intrusive camera for people shots and is excellent for street. It has mild perspective compression, allowing one to relate foreground objects to the background in landscapes and panoramas. Wide open, shallow depth of field is sufficient to minimize detail in portrait backgrounds or obliterate it entirely in macros. Macro is limited to 1:2, but it still is highly useful for close-up photography.


Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 XF Macro Lens


A few other topic-specific pages in response to forum requests have been located here:

A variety of approaches to ultra-wide photography
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/wide/

A method for attaching an umbrella to a monopod for wet weather photography, keeping both the camera and at least the upper part of the photographer dry.

http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/umbrella.htm

Photographs and descriptions of the graphics and the music workstations
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/workstations.htm

A direct comparison at high magnification of a scan of a B&W negative by an Epson 4870 scanner with DigitalICE on and off
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/bw-digitalice.htm

An inexpensive rig for high quality lighting of metal and very small objects
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/studio-for-metal.htm

A page of pictures of Canada Day 2003
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/canada-day.htm

A picture of a neat little belt-pack in which I carry my Nikon CP5000 accessories
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/beltpack.htm

There have been many questions on how to copy paintings and documents, now a little site with illustrations and a brief tutorial.
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/copy_setup.htm

A report on the ES-E28 Slide and Negative copy device for Nikon Coolpix cameras
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/es-e28.htm

The Nikon Cool Light SL-1 is an interesting gadget for macro photography. I had a chance to try one in a camera store.
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/coollight.htm

Two support devices, a versatile table-pod that also converts to a gunstock-type brace and a highly configurable clamp mount.
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/supports.htm

There has been a discussion of log buildings on PhotoGallery. Here is a small portfolio of them shot at Heritage Park, Calgary Alberta.
http://www.larry-bolch.com/ephemeral/logs/



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