27. May 2015 · Comments Off on Re learning Old Truths · Categories: How to, Taking care, Travel


“Repetition is a mother of learning”

Russian Proverb

“Live for a century, study for a century”

Russian Proverb

re learning about shutter speed & depth of field

re learning about shutter speed & depth of field


A while back, I bought a Sony NEX 6 (Amazon). I have been learning the in and outs of it with sample photos. Or maybe I should say that I am relearning old truths that have been forgotten.
The first truth is that it is better to have a high ISO with some grain or noise than it is to have a soft or blurry picture. The top picture here of scarves is the crispest one of a set, and it is still too soft and blurry. I would have done better to increase the ISO decrease the shutter speed. In this case ISO 800 shutter 1/6 sec. Since I was in walk about mode, there was no tripod.

The on camera flash for the NEX 6 reminds me of ET. It does not work very well with the lens that I have on the camera.

Sony Nex -Lens blocking flash

Sony Nex -Lens blocking flash

That big black blob in the bottom left is the lens blocking the flash.  I need to add an external flash . And from the awful (at left) pic of my lovely wife, that on camera flash is AWFUL.


The next truth that I am re learning is that smaller sensors have greater depth of field, which sometimes you don’t want ! An aperture of 7 needed to be much more open.


I very much do appreciate the higher dynamic range of the NEX 6 compared to the Point and Shoot.

Finally, re learning, that all cameras and all photography are a set of compromises.  Each camera, each lens involve their own sets of compromises and that part of the learning / re learning is to become aware of these.

What have you forgotten that you need to re learn?

20. May 2015 · Comments Off on The day after…. · Categories: Argentina, Preparation, Travel · Tags: ,
Canon 5Dii w/ 70-200mm f/2.8, Sony Nex 6 w/ 18-104 with lens shade, Vivitar 285, lens shade for

Canon 5Dii w/ 70-200mm f/2.8, Sony Nex 6 w/ 18-104 with lens shade, Vivitar 285, lens shade for Canon

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”  
Henry Miller

“No photographer is as good as the simplest camera” Edward Steichen

Previously I had written about the pros and mostly cons of a point & shoot (P&S).  Out of that I did some research and bought a Sony Nex 6 for about the price of a nice lens on my Canon system.  I am looking forward to experiments and trying it out….  Here are some of the lessons learned the day after.

What I had forgotten about is all of the other stuff that is needed to go with a new camera…

  • Camera bag of some form to carry it
  • New strap to replace miserable out of box strap that all new cameras seem to have
  • Spare batteries
  • Battery charger (it only came with in camera charging)
  • Arca-swiss plate for tripod mounting
  • SD cards
  • SD card holder (I have one for my CF cards for the Canon)
  • A circular polarizing filter, and UV haze filter for each lens
  • A filter holder / wallet
  • Nex 6 flash adapter so that I can use flash
  • A new large speedlight (possibly)
  • Adapter for Canon lens onto the Nex 6

All of this needs to learned anew.  How to use the camera in manual mode with and without a flash. How to change lens quickly and easily. What is it like on a tripod?

Then there are all of the reasons for moving away from the P&S.

  • Better image quality, no more barrel distortion
  • higher dynamic range
  • Enough pixels that the photos don’t look grainy to my eye.
  • Decreased chromatic aberration

All of these things will take time to validate or learn.  And it all takes time and practice.  I guess I should not plan on shooting a wedding with the new camera.  What will you learn the day after?

13. May 2015 · Comments Off on Using a Point & Shoot -Traveling Lessons · Categories: How to, Locations, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Lake Traful, Argentina

Lake Traful, Argentina

“No photographer is as good as the simplest camera.”

Edward Steichen

I am in Patagonia (Argentina) for 10 days.  I debated taking the Canon 5Dii, but decided not to bring it because it would be a tempting target for thieves.  Instead I opted for taking a Point & Shoot (P&S).  Below are my pro and cons around using a Point & Shoot.

Reasons I don’t like a point and shoot

  • No tripod – a tripod would have helped, even in the wind I could hold it down

    It was windy

    It was windy

  • No polarizing filter; the sky has big beautiful puffy clouds that just are not coming out  IMG_2624
  • More resolution; to allow for cropping
  • Sharper lens.  There is a distinct curvature in the P&S images that is annoying.  Lightroom  lens correction helps, but it is not enough.  (see the  image of lake Traful, Argentina)IMG_2677  IMG_2530
  • Can’t hand hold something that light in the wind steady.  Yes, I could/should bring a tripod and put a plate on the Point and shoot, but the tripod ball head is practically as big as the P&S.  A tripod by itself would have done nothing given the high winds that were blowing us people around.   However, putting my weight on the tripod would have done better than me swaying in the 40 mph winds.
  • Lower dynamic range (see waterfall photo).  This is particularly an issue when traveling when it is harder to get the morning and evening hours of low light that decrease the contrast.  HDR helps, but it is not enough to compensate for the very high contrast environments.
  • Have to have higher ISO with more noise to account for the hand held aspect.

Reasons for using a P&S

  • Less likely to be mugged when travelling abroad because of big expensive camera.  This was the primary reason for bringing the P&S versus the Canon big glass.  If it is stolen, then less loss.
  • It is lighter and easier to use (not true) when traveling.  Yes it is lighter, and smaller which is a big plus.  But in the wind, and for the shots I want, it did not produce them.
  • Why take a tripod for a P&S (oh how foolish am I).
    • With a tripod it is easier to take exposure bracketed frames to increase dynamic range.
    • Not have as blurry a photo.
    • Use a lower ISO that has better noise characteristics.


So the conclusion is….

I need a new small, doesn’t look like big glass, lighter solution.  So, for the price of a single big glass lens I can get a body and lens. I got a Sony Nex 6,

06. May 2015 · Comments Off on Spring break · Categories: Philosophy, Photography, Travel · Tags: , ,

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ “

Robin Williams

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”


For college kids Spring break is PARTY TIME!  (sorry no pictures of cute gals in bikinis and buff guys), but for me it is an opportunity to travel and photograph new things, or try and get a better shot of something that is compelling that I am not satisfied with.

Campfire on the beach- Spring break

Campfire on the beach- Spring break


A destination during Spring break

What do you do with your Spring break?  Do you give yourself a break?  We travel during Spring break.


This year, we will travel to the San Juan Islands for our week.  Usually we go to the southwest, but this year,  Spring break comes late for us, and we are heading North instead.

What goes into travel?  So much has been written.  For me, I have to recognize my expectations; do I want to sunbathe all day? or ride a single track all day or something in between ?  I am looking forward to getting great photos of harbors, coasts country side, quaint shops, bald eagles,  and maybe some fishermen.  Hopes include Orcas up close, and a good kayak paddle.

OK, so what am I going to do, to help fulfill my expectations?  I have acquired (thanks Amazon) several guide books and maps.  Now I just need to read them.  Taking the time to read them helps me prepare so that I know places to go to get the shots that I want to get, otherwise, they just make the suitcase heavier.  And then there is the camera gear.  I will take the rain covers for camera and lens, as well as a poncho and rain jackets.  Not sure what else yet (hum, not prepared?).


And I am looking forward to returning, refreshed with LOTS of photos.