Monday, December 16, 2013


Image: 5D Mk III, 70-200 f/4 L IS, f/7.1 at 1/640 sec.

Rather than the usual airplane shot, as below, I noticed Mt Baker and that I could align the mountain in the shot of the incoming 747-8 at Pain Field Everett, I live just a few minutes away from the Boeing plant so I get a lot of opportunities to shoot test flights, the above image turned out rather nice and proved a lot more interesting to me than the normal airplane shot. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Best Campsite Photo Contest Winner

5D Mk III, EF 24-70, f/2.8 L II f/10 at 70mm

Backpacker Magazine Nov 2013

From our trip to the Goat Rocks Wilderness in July


Monday, November 4, 2013

Nikon Df - Retro Full frame

The new Nikon Df 

very retro in its design

 with a real optical view finder

oh, I want one of these

Another retro design? yes and this could very well be my first Nikon camera, this reminds me of my old Pentax ME from the film days. I hope that Nikon has tamed their menu system, a no distraction camera would be my dream, just the basics of a film camera with a digital back and superb image quality is what I think a lot of photographers want.

This is the kind of camera you use with fast primes, no giant zooms, save those for your D800E and put a 50 f/1.8 or a 135 f/2 on this and you will  enjoy the photographic experience.

Same sensor as D4, same focus as D610, $2750.00 body only. $2995.00 w/50mm f/1.8.

order the body here

order the kit here

Nikon here

Specs here

DPreview first impressions here

more soon.......


Light & Landscape Magazine feature

I have been featured with a Q & A in this issue of Light & Landscape Magazine.

You can get the free magazine here for your iPad. E-magazines could very well kill off paper magazines one day, I have pretty much stopped buying newsstand magazines.


Images In Light

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Looking Up

Image: 5D Mk III, EF 16-35 f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/80th sec at 17mm, tripod.

Don't forget to look up, a perspective that is often missed, some times getting the camera down low and taking a shot looking up will give you new and interesting images.

I saw some folks taking pictures of these sculptures that I have never seen before and noticed a similar composition to one I had done with the Space Needle and the Pergola.


Images In Light

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fuji X100s Review

Image: X100s, f/11, ISO 800, 1/70 sec

100% crop of upper image.

I'm going to do something here I don't normally do, review a camera. I'm doing this for a few reasons, first is, I would like to get a review out there based on a Landscape photographers view of the X100s. Also from some one who has not yet drunk the Fuji cool aid. Secondly from the perspective of using it as a second camera in a more casual manner. Lastly, I like what I see Fuji doing with their design and I have been intrigued by it for some time.

So if your interested in how the X100s behaves, check back from time to time as I update this review.

I will be shooting mostly RAW and converting with Lightroom 5, finished images will be done in CS6, that is my normal workflow. Most work will be done off tripod so I can see how it resolves at higher ISO's.

 Image: Out of Camera jpg, Street Art, 1/2500, f/5.6 at ISO 200

The look:
Fuji has decided to go a different route than other manufacturer's, with the look and feel of their cameras and how the final images appear on screen and print. At the heart of this look is the X-trans sensor, see the Fuji site here I wont be detailing specs here, that's been done all across the web for people to find.

 As most people are aware of, this camera produces some of the finest OOC (out of camera) jpg's that can be found today. Fuji has managed to find a way to reproduce very natural looking images straight out of camera. This is an exception in today's market and Fuji should be commended for that. a lot of it is based on Fuji's history in film and their detailed analysis of color. I used to shoot with Fuji Velvia 50 back in the day, for landscape it was hard to beat. Fuji has done a great job of reproducing true to life color in their jpg output.

 Image: x100s, ISO 640 at f/11, 1/125 sec, hand held.

Fuji has found a way to to appeal to the photographer of yesteryear with their vintage range finder looks, its a camera that will appeal to film shooters and photographers that like s lot of manual control in their camera. This camera will greatly benefit people that don't like to sit behind a computer useing imaging software, it just takes fantastic images. Having said that, shooting RAW will almost always allow you to pull more detail from an image.

The Lens:

 Fujinon lenses have been around for years, pro's have been using them on their Hassy's for decades, Fuji makes great glass. The 23 mm aspherical lens on the X100s is no exception, not super sharp at f/2 but no slouch either, sharp stopped down, as good as any when good technique is used. Prone to flare but that can be easily remedied with a lens hood.

 X100s Flare example, 1/125 at f/11, ISO 200
not as bad as the camera used by J.J. Abrams in Star Trek

Sharp and relatively distortion free, the 23 mm f/2 lens is a winner as most other Fujinon glass is. Focusing is smooth and the lens is well built, manual focusing is easy even if you don't have the best of eyesight, using peaking and split image aids is a blessing. Micro contrast and resolution are very nice.

I thought it would be very limiting using just a 23mm lens (35mm equivalent) but I was wrong, it just makes you get a little exercise is all, your creativity will thank you for it.

 This is where most people are let down by the  Fuji cameras, with reason. Fuji has made great strides forward in improving their cameras handling, especially the auto focus. If you are used to shooting a DSLR however you will be disappointed, but that is currently the nature of mirrorless cameras. There are also some finicky menu options and a few quirks that makes one shake their head. Fuji, however fix's most problems with firmware updates, I returned the original X100 within a couple days due to handling issues, the X100S though, looks like a keeper. One needs to understand when using this camera, it takes a little more time, its more about the experience with the X100S.

 A good byproduct of its size is, it appears to be less intimidating when you point this at people, instead of a large DSLR, so people feel more comfortable with you taking their photo. This camera can be pulled out quickly and unobtrusively and the shot taken before people even realize you have taken it. A fast flash sync speed and quiet leaf shutter also help to be less obtrusive and the flash is pretty amazing for a built in.

Manual focusing is relatively easy with new features like focus peaking and digital split imaging, many other improvements over the original X100 make the new version a pleasure to use.

Image Quality:
This is what its all about and this is where Fuji makes things happen, with out a doubt this camera produces great images, even jpg out of camera shots are very nice. As good as a full frame DSLR?
no, I'm afraid not, but you can't expect that from a APS-C camera. Color, texture, detail, micro contrast and sharpness are all excellent. People shooter, that's how I like to think of the X100S. I enjoy using it to take pictures at parties and occasions. I love what it does for people, especially skin tones. It excels at images of friends and family.

Black and White conversion:
The conversion to black and white is handled well, a testament to Fuji's dynamic range, you can turn blue sky's to near black before seeing any artifacts. A very nice feature to have.


The Final Word
I highly recommend this camera, for certain people, those that know photography well and don't mind working around the slower handling. To others it may be a little frustrating to use and at this price point, its not a camera you want to leave at home in favor of your point and shoot. It feels good to use, I feel like I did in the film days, I take more time. I am looking forward to more from Fuji.

I also highly recommend some accessories with the X100s, including the following, the Thumbs up EP-2S, a soft shutter release like the Act 3 and my favorite wrist strap by Barton, screen protection Expert Shield.

Buy the X100T from B and H here. Now upgraded and better.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

X-E2, 2nd generation Fuji

Now things are starting to look very nice in Fuji land, its been a busy week with new camera releases,  but this release seems to stand out, Fuji still looks like a very nice option, the X-E2 promises much improved performance along with improved image quality and top notch lenses.

Image: x100s, ISO 640 at f/11, 1/125 sec, hand held.
Larger Image 

 Image: x100s, ISO 800 at f/11, 1/25 sec, hand held
 Larger Image

the above image's are the same sensor and processor as the X-E2 and should be fairly representative of the new camera, which means it should have exceptional image quality.

Dpreview preview here 

Fuji site here 

Fuji X website here

Buy it here


Images In Light

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

And now for those who want an ILC at a diminutive size, Panasonic announces the DMC-GM1, similar spec to the GX7 so this could be a real winner.
Will be interesting to see how this does with a nice lens on it like the M. Zuiko prime 75 f1.8

Panasonic site here 

DPreview preview here

Great review at ePhotozine here

Buy it here


Images In Light

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sony A7 and A7R a new era in SLR photography?

The new Sony A7R and A7 cameras where announced today, ushering in a new era in SLR photography ?

This could change things, this is the camera I wanted Canon to make, this is what could sway me to buy, this is what we wanted Fuji to do, but really only Sony had the muscle to make, for now.

But wait Sony doesn't have the lenses right ?

Wrong, today Sony also announces: The 55 1.8 Zeiss Lens,The 35 2.8 Zeiss Lens, 24-70mm F4 Carl Zeiss OSS, 70-200mm F4 Sony G OSS

So we will see how this camera performs, but on spec the A7R looks to be the one I want and if it performs I will certainly get. A brand new full frame 36mp sensor in a camera, that fits in the palm of your hand and with these new lenses, well like I said, if it performs.......

Also with adapters, you will be able to mount almost any lens to this camera, including Zeiss and Leica. The Metabonse adapter will allow full AF and metering with your Canon and Nikon Lenses.

Sony has done a job on Canon and Nikon from the looks of it. This is no surprise, the only surprise here is, Sony took so long to bring a 36mp sensor to market.

This also brings into question, what is M4/3's good for, this camera is not much bigger than the new Olympus OM-D E-M1, which is the M4/3's flagship camera, granted its half the price, but still the argument of size is no longer as valid as it was.

Only one thing missing here so far and that is, in camera stabilization. Knowing Sony though, the image quality in this camera will be the best, as of today.

Pre order it here 

As usual Michael Reichmann has a good assessment of the camera over at The Luminous Landscape here

See a preview at DPR here


Images In Light

Monday, October 14, 2013

In search of Alpine Larch

5D Mk III, 24-70f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/125 sec at 39mm, ISO 100, hand held.

Government shutdowns and high country snow have put a damper on my normal locations for fall color this year (shame on my government) normally I make a couple of trips to shoot fall color at Mt Rainier, but this year its closed.

5D Mk III, 70-200f/4L IS, f/7.1, 1/2000 sec at 89mm, ISO 100, hand held.
Buck Mountain from the trail

Carne Mountain was this years fall destination, a wonderful hike near lake Wenatchee, not for the beginner, it is 8 miles round trip with 3500 feet of elevation gain, snow shoes may or may not be required at this time of year.

5D Mk III, 24-70f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/200 at 24mm, ISO 100, hand held.
Golden Larch on the trail

Larch grow between 6000 and 7000 feet on the east slope of the Cascades here in the Pacific Northwest and usually require a significant hike to be seen in any quantity. Their color is incredible if you hit it right, seen with snow and blue sky's makes it all the better, we had a real treat this last weekend.

    Image: 5D Mk III, 24-70f/2.8 L II, f/11, 1/200 at 35mm, ISO 100, hand held.
Larch, Buck Mountain and the Chiwawa range
Larger Image 

See more images from this trip at my Flickr page here


Monday, October 7, 2013

Zeiss Otus 55 f/1.4

Is the perfect lens also the one you can't afford ? $3990 what ?

Will be interesting to see how many they sell, I'm sure its as good as it gets, but really ? $4k for a 35mm lens ?

sample image here

Zeiss web site here

more info here at DPP


Images In Light

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting low to the ground

Image: 5D Mk III, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, 35mm at f/16, 1/50th sec, tripod.

Image: 5D Mk III, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, 28mm at f/16, 1/13th sec. tripod.

Getting down low and looking before you set up your tripod is how a lot of my images are taken, I wish I had shot this with my tripod fully extended so I could demonstrate the difference, but let me tell you it was huge, there was a guy from California (tripod at eye level) next to me, taking a similar shot as me, when I stood up to see what the reflection was, the top of the mountain was just barely reflected in the water, my camera lens was about 8 inches off the ground, tripod legs spread out fully 90° from the camera and ball head.

I did point out the reflection to him, but he would have none of that, oh well, I tried, we did however commiserate for a time before heading down the trail.

It doesn't have to be a lake, a tarn or a snow melt or stream will work, bend over and check before setting up a tripod, most reflections are down low.

Image: 5D Mk III, EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, 30mm at f/16, 1/50th sec. tripod.

Larger Image

No reflection but again I was down low getting my lens in the Alpine Heather, maybe 1 foot off the ground here focusing on the heather and shooting stopped down to f/16 for depth of field.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

We are now a Flipboard Magazine

We are now available as a Flipboard magazine for your IOS or Android device, just download the app  to your device and search out Images In Light. Now, with more content than ever. See the web version here.

IOS app here

Android app here


Images In Light

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Fuji X-A1

The New Fuji X-A1
Fuji's Budget camera

A CMOS version of the X-M1 for less money and it includes a lens? hmmmm, interesting move by Fuji to draw in more people, not every one likes the xTrans sensor, but the Fujinon lenses are spectacular and maybe a CMOS sensor will bring in more customers.

Fuji site here

Get it here for $599 with 16-50mm lens


Images In Light

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Perfect Landscape Lens

Image: 5D Mk III, EF 24-70 f2.8L II, 31mm, f/16, 1/50 sec, tripod.

I have been searching for the perfect landscape lens for a 35mm system since I was shooting film , ok so now that I've shown my age, what is the perfect landscape lens?

To me the perfect landscape lens would be a zoom as sharp as the best primes and with enough resolution to shoot f/64, but oh wait thats what the Large Format segment has, so now what? well at 35mm our minimum aperture is usually f/22, beyond that and diffraction would make our images so fuzzy you could hardly tell what you where looking at.

I never shoot beyond f/16, and with some lenses I wont go beyond f/11, with my newest lens, the EF 24-70 f/2.8L II, I have the first lens that Im not afraid to shoot at f/16, although it is sharper at f/11 I will still go to f/16 without hesitation and that is due to its resolution.

 Image: 5D Mk III, EF 24-70 f2.8L II, 35mm, f/16, 1/50 sec, tripod.

Canons super wide could still use some improvement now that the 24-70 and 70-200 have been improved to the point of equaling or bettering the competition, but I still like my EF 16-35 f/2.8L II and will stick with it.

I keep getting asked, "what is a good landscape lens" my answer is always, the best lens you can afford, not every one can afford the f/2.8 zooms or want to carry them all, I know I don't want to carry all that weight, there are compromise lenses, you just need to figure out their limitations and use them at there optimum aperture. Focal length? well I use 16mm all the way up to 300mm for landscape, but typical landscape images I take are probably between 24mm and 35mm.

So right now, my perfect landscape lens is the EF 24-70f/2.8L II


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Olympus OM-D E-M1

The new OM-D E-M1

Micro four thirds fans should be in heaven this past 6 months with multiple camera introductions from both Panasonic and Olympus including the Lumix GX7Olympus E-P5 and now the E-M1.

This camera takes the E-M5 to a new level, super build, new 16mp sensor, improved weather sealing and ergonomics, large high res view finder, the ability to use auto focus with Four Thirds lenses (with adaptor).

This is a Pro level camera and the glass you can get for this camera is definitely to die for, all the M. Zuiko that has been announced and upcoming, like the 12-40 below and the announced 40-150 f2.8.

The nice thing about the Olympus gear is you can set up a system for 1/2 the price of Canon or Nikon. I would love to own the Panasonic 7-14 f/4 along with the 2 lenses announced above with the E-M1, pretty nice travel kit, add some of the excellent M. Zuiko primes like the 75 f1.8 and you are set.

This is definitely the way to go if you can't afford the equivalent Canon or Nikon setup or are tired of carrying around all that weight.

Recently released from Panasonic the GX7 will be the E-M1's competition.

The new M. Zuiko 12-40 f/2.8 (24-80 Equivalent)

Olympus road map

Some people that are not going to be happy are the legacy Olympus people, although this is an upgrade for Micro Four Thirds as well as Four Thirds owners, some people will never be happy without an optical view finder, even one as good as this and I can't blame them, I don't think I would, to qualify that, I use a 5D so I'm set for photography that I require an optical view finder for, so for me to use this camera for travel and hiking, I would be ok, because I can fall back on my Canon system.

see DPreviews preview here

Ming Thein review here

Robin Wong review here

Luminous Landscape here

Tech Radar here here

first impressions The Phoblographer here

Olympus web site here

pre order E-M1 body for $1399 here, body and M. Zuiko 12-40 f2.8 for $2199 here

Understanding Micro 4/3's White Paper


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Creating Lightroom Presets

Creating presets in Lightroom is very easy, I have seen people selling them and I hate to see people paying for something that is so simple.

While in the develop module, start by creating a folder, select somewhere inside the presets menu on the upper left  as shown and select new folder.

click image to see bigger

Name that new folder and hit enter, you now have a location to put your presets, think about what you want to call it, you can click on it and delete it if you need to and start over.

click image to see bigger

Now go in and make adjustments to an image that you would like your presets to match up to, things like tone curve, colors, sharpening, etc., once your satisfied select the "+" symbol to the right of "Presets" in the upper right as shown and give your preset a name, from the pull down menu select the folder you created earlier, every thing you did to that image is now saved in that preset in that folder for you to apply to future images.

One for color: click image to see bigger

One for Black and White: click image to see bigger

As simple as that, this is especially useful for Fuji X users that want to get that out of camera look. Make as many as you need, they are easy to create and delete.