Monday, March 27, 2017

A Personal Creativity Challenge

I tend to get in a photographic rut.  I take my camera out to some really cool places and come back with photos that are similar to what I have taken many times before at other places.   I shoot from a comfortable place where I compose similar shots using the same lens.  Not good and definitely not very creative.  Every once in a while I need something to bump me out of that rut.

Today I took my camera and one lens on a little hike at Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport.  The lens is a Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 manual lens on a Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera.  This lens is completely manual.  No automatic aperture and no automatic focusing.  It is also a wide angle prime lens (18mm full frame equivalent), meaning the only way I can zoom is with my feet.  My creativity challenge to myself was to see what photos I could come up with using only that lens.

I found this lens is very sharp when focused properly.  At 12mm I can get a nice deep depth of field, making everything from the sign post to the far trees in sharp focus.

I was lucky enough to have some cool clouds building up while I was there.  These looked good reflected on the surface of the lake.

Spring has not really gotten started yet at Bays Mountain. When there is not a lot of colors, I like to remove all color and convert to black and white.

Despite the clouds, there was enough light to make it difficult to get an exposure long enough to blur the water.  One-half second was the slowest exposure I could get.
1/2 second exposure, f/22
Ruts are not fun.  Challenges like this are what I need to make myself tackle from time to time to get bumped out of the rut.  I am also participating in the Petapixed 52-week photography challenge where I have a new challenge each week for an entire year. I find I have to stretch my creativity muscles to come up with new photos to meet the weekly challenge.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Walk By Faith and Grow in Grace

I am participating in a 52-week photo challenge this year.  Now that I am retired I have more time to spend working on my photography skills and a weekly photo challenge is a great way to force me out of my comfort zone to learn new things.

This week's challenge was "Still Life".  According to Wikipedia, "a still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on)."  This is an area in which I have made very few photos and none that I have been really happy with.  But I have to complete the weekly challenge.

I wasn't sure what to use as my subject.  I was pretty sure I didn't want to use dead animals, so I went to and looked for other still life photos. I saw one with books so I decided I could use some of the old antique books we have.   I wanted to make the scene to be appealing and make the viewer want to sit down and read.   What better than a steaming cup of hot coffee.  The antique books needed a candle to complete the scene.    Add some coasters and I had the ingredients I needed.

I shot this in my den, which has plenty of distracting things in the background.  I tried several different angles, moved furniture and took things off the walls to get rid of the distractions.  I used an off camera flash with a shoot through umbrella to light the scene but not the background.  Using the flash also highlighted the steam coming from the cup.

The coaster says Walk by Faith.  If you look closely inside the cup "Grow in grace."  II Peter 3:18 is printed on the inside.  What better way to begin your reading.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

I'm switching to Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera and selling my Canon gear

Most everything has gone to a new home.   Last chance for some gently used gear.

Back in November of 2015, I purchased a Fuji X-T1 and four lenses from a local photographer buddy. I have been using both the Fuji and my older Canon 5D Mark II DSLR since then.  Over time I have found I was using the Fuji and leaving the Canon at home more and more.   The primary reason is the Fuji camera and lenses are much smaller and lighter.  As I get older I appreciate a light load when hiking or traveling.  I've found each camera has plusses and minuses but overall the quality of the images is similar.

A few months ago I decided I was approaching a fork in the camera equipment road and I was going to have to upgrade either the Canon or the Fuji.  The one that does not get the upgrade will be sold off along with all the related lenses and accessories.   Two days ago I ordered a new Fuji X-T2 camera and a Fuji 100-400mm zoom lens to add to the collection of Fuji gear.

The time has come to put the Canon gear up for sale.  I went to KEH, Adorama, and Fred Miranda to check prices for used gear in similar shape to mine.  I believe the prices below are fair and the average of what you would pay at these sites.  I prefer to sell locally but will ship within the US for an additional fee.

I have alway taken good care of my camera gear and you will find these are in good to excellent shape.  You can click on any image below to zoom in.  Once you have zoomed in to one you can use the right and left arrow keys to flip between images.

Canon EF300mm f/4.0L IS Prime lens (review). This is my newest lens and the one that got the least use.  It looks and works like brand new.  It has an integrated lens hood.  Comes with the tripod mount ring, end caps, and a soft case. $800.

Sigma 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 EX OS Zoom lens (review). This is one I've had for a while and haven't used much since I got the 300mm prime lens. This is a solidly built lens but it is heavy (3.6 pounds). This comes with the lens hood, tripod mount ring, end caps, and a soft case.   The finish on the outside is peeling off in places. Doesn't hurt the operation of the lens but doesn't look very nice. There are very few of this lens available for sale.$250.

Contact me if you are interested in any of these items.

Richard Siggins
(423)416-1258 (cell)