September 17, 2012

Camera Repair and CLA (clean, lubricate, adjust)

Hey folks, I have a recommendation to make. If you ever need a camera serviced-- especially some old, obscure film camera, send it to Leonid Treskunov of Trescam, Inc. He'll give you an estimate once he takes a look at it, and he's very reasonably priced. So far I've had him repair and CLA two Pentacon Six TLs, a Mamiya C33, and lenses for all three.

Instructions for shipping and how to pay him with PayPal are on his website. He's great! It's not the local economy for me, but no one here in Portland services those cameras. He's in New Jersey.

Here's his website:
http://www.trescam.com




December 5, 2011

Yosemite Road Trip 2011


Safety

If you plan a trip to Yosemite National Park, buy or rent a bear canister. They are mandatory if you have food with you. Also buy a can of bear spray if you plan on hiking. Do not take any chances.

Introduction

This is an account of the trip I took from Portland, Oregon to Yosemite National Park and back. I spent about a week planning it; from where I would stay each night to putting myself in the right place at the right time for photos, and everything in between. I used these tools to plan:


I planned what time to leave the first night, where I would take photos each morning, and where I would stay and take photos each night. I reserved campsites wherever possible, and gave myself plenty of time to pack and unpack my camp, clean up, and eat meals. I also gave myself plenty of time for photography at each location.

When you go on a photo shoot like this, expect to either lose a lot of sleep or become slightly nocturnal. The best light happens at sunrise and sunset. Plan on getting to your locations early and staying late, because sometimes the light (and weather) can be pleasantly unpredictable.

Photos


To see any of the following photos large, just click on them.

This first photo (Figure 1) is a 2-minute exposure with the moon, 50 minutes before sunrise at Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. The camera settings from the EXIF data were:

Camera Maker: PENTAX
Camera Model: PENTAX K20D
Lens: Sigma or Tamron Lens
Image Date: 2011-07-16 05:04:17 +0000
Focal Length: 10mm (35mm equivalent: 15mm)
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure Time: 120.000 s
ISO equiv: 100
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinates: 42.933, -122.169

Additional information:
Tripod
Bulb setting
Cable release
No filters


Note: I use a tripod and cable release about 99% of the time when doing landscape photography. To save time and space, assume that I used both to take all of these photos. I use the Bulb setting on the camera for all exposures longer than 30 seconds. I also adjust white balance, color, exposure, and contrast on all photos during post-process in Adobe Lightroom.

Figure 1: Crater Lake 50 minutes before sunrise.
Crater Lake & Moon



For this next one (Figure 2) all of the equipment was the same, but the settings were slightly different and I used filters. There was more light in the sky by this time. It was about 12 minutes before sunrise.

ISO equiv: 200
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure Time: 5.000 s
Filters: Screw-on Circular Polarizer (CPL) and 3-stop Daryl Benson Reverse Graduated Neutral Density (Reverse GND) Filter, handheld (more info here.)

Figure 2: Crater Lake 12 minutes before sunrise.
Crater Lake Dawn



For this one (Figure 3) I used the same equipment and same filters, just slightly different settings to account for the sun getting brighter on the horizon. I used an aperture of f/16 (small aperture) to get a larger depth of field, ensuring everything would be in focus. I used a low ISO (100) because the sun on the horizon was so bright. The filter tamed the sun on the horizon, while allowing the foreground to be evenly lit and the reflection on Crater Lake to shine.

Focal length: 20mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure Time: 1.300 s
Filters: CPL and Reverse GND

Figure 3: Crater Lake 7 minutes before sunrise.
Crater Lake


This last one of Crater Lake (Figure 4) was right at sunrise. Same equipment and filters (CPL and Reverse GND) as the photos above.
Exif data:

Camera Maker: PENTAX
Camera Model: PENTAX K20D
Lens: Sigma or Tamron Lens
Image Date: 2011-07-16 05:54:53 +0000
Focal Length: 20mm (35mm equivalent: 30mm)
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure Time: 3.000 s
ISO equiv: 100
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinates: 42.933, -122.169
Filters: CPL and Reverse GND

Figure 4 Crater Lake at sunrise (5:54am).
Fire & Ice - Crater Lake Sunrise



I didn't record the GPS coordinates of the next photo of Mount Shasta (Figure 5), but it was off Castle Lake Road near Heart Lake.
Exif data:

Camera Maker: PENTAX
Camera Model: PENTAX K20D
Lens: Sigma Lens
Image Date: 2011-07-16 19:39:03 +0000
Focal Length: 50mm (35mm equivalent: 75mm)
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure Time: 0.167 s (1/6)
ISO equiv: 100
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
Filters: CPL

Figure 5: Mount Shasta, late afternoon.
Mt. Shasta



Mount Lassen (Figure 6) was one of the last volcanoes to erupt in the U.S., prior to Mount St. Helens. I didn't stop anywhere near Mount Lassen, but I took this photo on my way to Mono Lake. It was an 8-hour drive from Mount Shasta to Mono Lake.

Focal length: 50mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure Time: 0.067 s (1/15)
Filters: CPL

Figure 6: Mount Lassen in mid-day sun.
Mt. Lassen



I arrived at Mono Lake (Figure 7) just in time for sunset after setting up camp and having dinner and a shower. The wind was blowing, so the water was choppy. There was enough light that a very slow shutter speed would have made the photo overexposed, even with a small aperture and low ISO. To solve this problem, I used a 3-stop neutral density (ND8) screw-on filter to block a lot of the light. That allowed me to use a slow shutter speed to give the water a smoother look.

Focal length: 50mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/22.0
Exposure Time: 30.000 s
Filters: ND8

Figure 7: Mono Lake at sunset.
Mono Lake South Tufa



Mono Lake at night (Figure 8) can be described with one word: creepy. I was all alone there that night, and when I was done I rushed out in a big hurry. Taking photos at night can get tricky. I used Google Sky Maps to see when and where the moon was coming up, and I took a few test shots to learn what settings to use. The hardest part is focusing.

The camera's auto focus doesn't work at night because it's too dark. You have to use manual focus and focus to infinity if you're doing landscapes or star trails. The difficult part is knowing where true infinity is on your camera. It's not necessarily always on the infinity symbol on the lens; it could be slightly off in either direction. You just need to get to know your lenses through practice. These tufa formations were just close enough that the infinity setting wasn't accurate. I used the old standby, trial and error. Those white specks you see in the sky are stars. Because this was a long exposure, it recorded the motion of the stars.

Focal length: 28mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure Time: 120.000 s
GPS Coordinates: 37.942, -119.026
Filters: none


Figure 8: Mono Lake under a half moon.
Tufa & Moonlight - Mono Lake



Ellery Lake (Figure 9) isn't the highest elevation on Tioga Pass, but it's close. That sign was the only reason I stopped to take a photo.

Figure 9: Ellery Lake, Tioga Pass, in mid-day sun.
I got really high that day.



This next one in the series, "Tunnel View," (Figure 10) is the view you see coming north up Highway 41 in Yosemite National Park toward Yosemite Valley. The valley is about 7.5 miles long. I took this at sunset and blended two exposures, one for the valley and one for the sky. I exposed one for the lower half of the photo, and one for the upper half using a Reverse GND filter, then I blended them in Photoshop. After I blended the exposures, I increased the tonal contrast and sharpened it.

This is a small series from Yosemite National Park, but I only had two full days there. That's why I did such extensive planning. I also slept all day for one day of it so that I could get up at midnight and head back for some night and sunrise shots. The biggest sacrifice we make as photographers is sleep!

Figure 10: Tunnel View at sunset.
Tunnel View



This next photo is Yosemite Falls under a half moon (Figure 11). I wrote an instruction manual on how to do star trail pictures like this using an interval timer cable release. I'll have copies of that available for sale on my website sometime this month. I'll announce when they're available. This was 15 exposures stacked in Photoshop, and each one was an exposure of 2 minutes.

Figure 11: Yosemite Falls and Merced River under a half moon.
Yosemite Falls



Bridal Veil Falls (Figure 12) is in full sunlight in the afternoon. I decided to shoot it anyway, because I wouldn't be going back that way anytime soon. Shooting waterfalls in full sun is quite a challenge, especially if you want to use a slow shutter speed. I used filters to block much of the light.

Focal length: 20mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/16.0
Exposure Time: 1.600 s
Filters: CPL and ND8

Figure 12: Bridalveil Falls in afternoon sun.
Bridalveil Fall



I was up at Tunnel View when I shot this photo of Half Dome (Figure 13). I zoomed in as far as my longest lens would let me, just when the sun started going down.

Focal length: 300mm
ISO equiv: 200
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure Time: 0.020 s (1/50)
Filters: none

Figure 13: Half Dome at sunset.
Half Dome



This next photo is of Yosemite Falls and the Merced River (Figure 14). I slept most of the day before, got up at midnight, and was in the valley by 3:30 in the morning. The moon had come up behind me and was half full, which provided just enough light. The moon was the only light source in this photo. The exposure time was ~5 minutes.
Exif data:

Camera Maker: PENTAX Corporation
Camera Model: PENTAX K10D
Lens: Sigma or Tamron Lens
Image Date: 2011-07-21 04:25:43 +0000
Focal Length: 10mm (35mm equivalent: 15mm)
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure Time: 302.000 s
ISO equiv: 200
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinates: 37.743, -119.589
Filters: none

Figure 14: Yosemite Falls and Merced River under a half moon.
Star Light, Star Bright...



I stuck around for sunrise because I'd be a fool not to! I expected to see photographers lined up to photograph the stars, or at the very least, the sunrise. Much to my surprise, I was the only one there! Everyone else (and believe me, there were at least several hundred of them) was still tucked snugly into their sleeping bags. I never thought I'd have the entire Yosemite Valley all to myself. I saw a doe having her breakfast, but I didn't get a good photo of her.

I took this next photo of Yosemite Falls and the Merced River (Figure 17) shortly after the sun came up. There was a light mist over the grassy meadow. None of these photos do this place any justice. It's so much larger and more beautiful than it looks here.

Focal length: 20mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/22
Exposure Time: 0.600 s
Filters: Reverse GND

Figure 15: Yosemite Falls, mid-morning.
Yosemite National Park



I took this next photo (Figure 16) from a parking lot on the east side of the valley, right before the road turns to the north and then west to go back to Highway 41. One thing I should note: I took the polarizer off my wide-angle lens. It caused a dark spot in the sky because the lens is too wide for it. I've found I get better results if I use the Reverse GND and blend exposures as a last resort. I've done a lot of HDR, and it never looks quite as good or as natural.

Here I used a Reverse GND filter and blended two exposures, one for the landscape and one for the sky.

Figure 16: Yosemite Falls and Merced River at sunrise.
Yosemite National Park



This photo of the road that winds through Yosemite Valley is a good example of why you should always turn around and look behind you. You never know... something even better could be right behind you.

Focal length: 50mm
ISO equiv: 200
Aperture: f/22
Exposure Time: 2.000 s
Filters: none

Figure 17: Yosemite Valley, mid-morning.
Tranquility



This was the best I could do with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (Figure 18). I was only there for one night, just passing through. I took this at sunrise, and the sun hadn't had a chance to burn the fog off yet. From what I hear, conditions are much better for rolling fog over the bridge in the winter.

Figure 18: Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise.
Golden Gate Bridge



I took this next photo at the Jedediah-Smith Campground (Figure 19). Not in the forest... in the middle of the campground. This is right next to a parking area and it's surrounded by campsites. There are restrooms toward the upper-left side. I was able to take this photo because the sun had just come up and the campground was full and everyone was starting their morning campfires. There was enough smoke to make those sun rays. I just happened to find a spot where there were no people at the time, but I was surrounded by them.

I was awe struck by this spectacular light show, but when I looked around it seemed like I was the only one who noticed it.

Focal length: 18mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/11
Exposure Time: 4.000 s
Filters: none

Figure 19: Jedediah-Smith Campground, mid-morning.
Jedediah-Smith



The maze of roads at the Jedediah-Smith Campground (Figure 20). I didn't camp there because it was full and I didn't want to risk not getting one of their walk-in only sites, so I reserved a spot about 8 miles down the road at Panther Flat Campground. So I got up early, packed up my camp, and went to the Jedediah-Smith campground to walk around and take pictures. Of course I still had to pay the $8 just to be there. It was beautiful. This was the result of just wandering around aimlessly pointing my camera in every direction. The sun rays were so awesome that morning.

Figure 20: Jedediah-Smith Campground road, mid-morning.
Jedediah-Smith Campground



Ahh, the cloudless ocean sunset (Figure 21). It's what we photographers call getting "skunked." (I think that's also a fishing term for not catching any fish.) Clouds are what make ocean sunsets beautiful, and there were no clouds that night. This was my only night in Bandon, so I tried to make the best of it. One word: filters.

Focal length: 20mm
ISO equiv: 100
Aperture: f/22
Exposure Time: 75.000 s
GPS Coordinates: 43.107, -124.435
Filters: CPL, Reverse GND

Figure 21: Bandon, Oregon coast at sunset.
Bandon


November 30, 2011

Q&A (Color Management)



Question:

Have you done much to calibrate your monitor and printer (and whatever else) so that the colors/brightness you see on your monitor matches your prints? I haven't done anything since I built my new PC. Just printed some photos and they are much darker than what I am seeing on my Samsung digital LCD. I have a nice HP Photosmart printer. I don't think it's the hardware. I think I need to do some work around calibration. Think I'm on the right track?


Answer:

Yeah, I think you're on the right track, but color management gets complicated. I have an HP Photosmart printer as well (C5180, so it's probably quite a bit older), and compared to the lab where I have prints done, the quality is remarkably low.

When I start factoring in things like the cost of the printer, paper and inks, it just isn't cost effective for me to print my own. That, and I can't do anything large.

I have calibrated my monitors, though. That seems to work well. The prints I have had come back from the lab are a tad darker and duller, so what I'm doing is just making mine a little brighter when I edit them. Bay Photo also does have an ICC profile you can download. I tried using it, but I'm pretty sure it's not a color profile for monitors, because it wasn't in the right file format.

For right now, I'm just calibrating my monitors with the Spyder2Express and making them a little brighter and slightly more saturated when I edit them. It's not a big difference, but I noticed it.

From what I've heard and read so far, and based on my own experience, calibration is much easier and more accurate if you use one of those on-screen gadgets like the Spyder.



June 26, 2011

Marin & Bill, 5.21.11

These photos are from a wedding last month in Hillsboro, Oregon. The wedding was held at the grove at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and the reception was in the octagonal barn. It was a small and very laid back wedding on a beautiful day, and was very pleasant to shoot. And speaking of octagons... I used my Octodome with an external hot shoe flash the entire time. This was my first time using it at a wedding, and I'm glad I did.

Marin & Bill

Sweetness

Marin & Bill

Marin & Bill

Marin, color

Marin & Bill

Marin & Bill

Post Process:
With all of these I started in Photoshop CS5 by adjusting the highlights and shadows, contrast, and used the Portrait Professional plug-in for touch-ups. Then I applied the Glamour Glow filter with Nik Software's Color Efex Pro, sharpened, and used Lightroom 3 to make any additional adjustments to contrast and exposure. With some of them I converted to black and white, and others I desaturated by about 50%.

June 23, 2011

Jennifer & Todd

Back in May, a couple came to me wanting portraits. They are a consulting team and wanted pictures for their business profiles and what not online. So we met in the Pearl District of Portland and did some portraits outside. It was a pretty nice and bright but overcast day, so I didn't use any reflectors or flash.

Jennifer

Todd

Todd & Jennifer

EXIF:
Camera Maker: PENTAX
Camera Model: PENTAX K20D
Lens: Sigma Lens
Image Date: 2011-05-22 09:57:41 +0000
Focal Length: 105mm (35mm equivalent: 157mm)
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure Time: 0.0040 s (1/250)
ISO equiv: 200
Exposure Bias: +0.50 EV
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto)
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
Photographer: Bonnie Kirkpatrick
Copyright: Bonnie Kirkpatrick 2011

June 5, 2011

Plans for the Summer

A short announcement for anyone who reads this:

With the exception of a wedding I'm doing on September 10th, I'm going to be taking the summer off from weddings and portraits in order to focus on looking for a job, spending time with family and dealing with personal issues, and doing nature photography. It's been way too long since I've been out just enjoying nature and taking pictures, and since I'll be graduating with an A.A.S. this month, it's also time for me to get a job with a steady paycheck. And, as anyone who has looked for work recently knows, looking for work can be a full time job in itself.

I'll be more than happy to book anything for this fall and beyond, but I need this summer to relax, sort some things out, and make that transition from full time student to work (and part time school after that).

Thank you for your patience and understanding,
-Bonnie

May 13, 2011

Portland is Pretty in Pink

Here is a collection of pictures I put together from this spring. All are from Portland, and all from this year. The color pink abounds!

Spring Colors

Spring's Tendrils

Peeking Through

With this one (above), the trick to getting a sunstar is using a small aperture. I used f/27. I had to use a somewhat fast shutter speed to keep it sharp because the wind was blowing, so since I didn't have much light to work with, I used ISO 400. Then I adjusted the fill light and cleaned up some lens flare in Photoshop.

Waterfront

With this one I used a graduated neutral density filter over the sky to keep the sky properly exposed with the grass and trees.

EXIF:

Camera Maker: PENTAX
Camera Model: PENTAX K20D
Lens: Sigma Lens
Image Date: 2011-04-07 14:11:40 +0000
Focal Length: 26mm (35mm equivalent: 39mm)
Aperture: f/13.0
Exposure Time: 0.067 s (1/15)
ISO equiv: 100
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
Photographer: Bonnie Kirkpatrick
Copyright: Bonnie Kirkpatrick 2011

And here is a vertical version of the same area, but from a bridge above:

Then the clouds came in...

This one, I call "Big Pink, Little Pink":

Big Pink, Little Pink

Portland again, cropped

This one (above) was taken at sunset. I used ISO 200, an aperture of f/16, and shutter speed of 57 seconds with the help of a B+W 110 filter (10-stop). The long shutter speed recorded the motion of the water and clouds.

Magnolia

The photo above was taken with a Lensbaby Composer and single-glass optic at ISO 200, f/4, and 1/500". I also used a 13mm extension tube so that I could get closer to the bloom.

The answer my friend...

Therapy

April 16, 2011

Night Lights, City Lights - Portland, Oregon

Since gas costs an arm and a leg now, I'm taking more pictures in town rather than driving all over the state. Also because I'm taking 13 credits this term, so I'm pretty swamped. This gives me a chance to at least go out for a few hours. I need to get to know this city, anyway. I've lived here for 4 years and still don't know my way around!

Here are some pictures I took from the top of the tram at OHSU:

City Lights

EXIF:

Camera Maker: PENTAX
Camera Model: PENTAX K20D
Lens: Sigma Lens
Image Date: 2011-03-25 19:44:24 +0000
Focal Length: 133mm (35mm equivalent: 199mm)
Aperture: f/11.0
Exposure Time: 3.000 s
ISO equiv: 100
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB
GPS Coordinate: undefined, undefined
Photographer: Bonnie Kirkpatrick
Copyright: Bonnie Kirkpatrick 2011

Some Buildings and Lights

And here's the same one as above in black and white:

B&W


The Marquam Bridge:

Marquam Bridge

April 10, 2011

March 19, 2011 Perigee

The clouds obscured it when it came up, so I had to wait until it got farther up in the sky. I wanted some foreground or at least a tree or two, but it didn't come back out until I got home, and there's nothing interesting around here. Oh well.