It’s Here!

Adorama came through with an excellent offer on my old equipment and so now I’m the very happy owner of a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and an L series 24-105mm F4 ISM lens.  I haven’t had a chance to do too much shooting with it and now I’m going to be out of town this weekend and most of next week.  I’ll take it along, but I don’t see much chance to use it…I’ll do my best though.

I doubt there’s much point in reviewing a camera that’s 4 years old already but I’ll give you my initial thoughts:  “Wow”.  “Damnit I wish I’d bought one 4 years ago!”  Stuff like that.

Here’s one of the shots I’ve made with it so far, taken at Houghton’s Pond, part of the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, MA.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f4 L lens Black & White conversion in Lightroom 3.6

I converted the image to B&W because there just isn’t much color in this neck of the woods at this time of year…

And if you are local to the area (Boston, MA) and are a regular visitor to the Blue Hills, check out this group: Friends of the Blue Hills  They spend a fair amount of time and energy making the Blue Hills the great place that it is.

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Fun with exposure: Things You Can Do in a Museum

The light meter in your digital camera, be it an SLR or a point & shoot, is a pretty darned sophisticated piece of electronic wizardry.  Throw the meter into matrix mode, point your lens at a scene and shoot it, you’re going to get a “correct” exposure.  The problem is, a correct exposure might not be what you’re looking for; your creative eye will look at a given scene and see it very differently from how the dead accurate, but unimaginative, meter does.

This neon art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston serves two purposes.  It’s art, and it is a nice way to present the museum do’s and don’ts to visitors.  The piece is located near the main gift shop in a well lit lobby.  I took a couple of snap shots of the sign because it made me chuckle, but then started to wonder how I could make it a semi-worthwhile photo.

The neon is mounted on a stark white wall in a largely white room, pretty uninteresting as a photographic background.  Blue light shining out of a black hole though would look pretty cool…outer space like even.  How to make it happen?  There are two light sources in this photo. One is the neon lights (conveniently that also happens to be our subject) and the ambient room lighting.  I’m no genius with light, but solution to this problem is pretty simple; get a base exposure for the scene (which ended up being 1/30 sec, f8, ISO 800) and then work the shutter speed til you kill the ambient.  Starting with that exposure, I took a series of shots, upping the shutter speed about 1/2 stop for each one; if I was good I could have guessed at the right shutter speed but I’m not.  I ended up getting the effect I wanted at 1/160 sec, f8, ISO 800.  The ambient light is gone completely and all we have is our funny neon artwork.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200, Nikkor 16-85mm AF-S VR, 1/160 sec, f8, ISO800 Neon artwork, MFA Boston RAW file processed in Photoshop Elements 10 w/Adobe Camera RAW

“If your photographs aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough.”

The above quote is attributed to Robert Capa, one of the founders of Magnum Photos.  I believe Capa was mostly referring to the photojournalistic photographs for which he is famous, but it’s true enough for any style of photography.  I spent some time at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Sunday and took a few casual shots while I was there.  Take a look at these two images and tell me which one you prefer.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson Nikon D200 Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm f4.8 @ 1/100 second ISO 100. Post in Elements 10 and Adobe Camera Raw.

Copyright @ 2012 Adrian M. Benson  Nikon D200 Nikkor AF-S 16-85mm  f5.3  1/50 second ISO 100.  Post in Elements 10 and Adobe Camera RawThe first image at least lets you know what you are looking at, an amazing glass sculpture, but the detail shot is the better, more interesting photograph by far in my estimation.

Sunset

I like sunset pictures.  Who doesn’t really?  I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this one.  It was kind of a grab shot; I was packing my gear away in my car and turned around and noticed the sun through the trees and thought it should make a good photo.  It sort of looks like the sky and trees are on fire.  I only had a few minutes to work before the sun disappeared and so shot handheld rather than on a tripod.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i 18-55mm EF-S IS lens, f8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 200, post in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop Elements 10

Like I said, I’m not sure if I love this shot or not.  The color seems overwhelming, but that is how it looked pretty much.  Let me know what you think.

Graffiti

Near my house just outside Boston, there is a very nice state park, Blue Hills Reservation. It has miles of hiking trails, many scenic views, lakes for fishing and swimming, picnic areas, and so forth.  It also has graffiti everywhere.  I don’t think the park service even bothers to try cleaning it up anymore and you can hardly blame them I guess.  It might be a worthwhile project for me to hike all the trails and document the ruination of the park.  That would give me something to do for a few years.  This shot is from inside the picnic pavillion near the Chickatawbut Overlook.

Copyright @ 2012 by Adrian M. Benson Canon EOS Rebel T2i, f4 @ 1/30 sec ISO 400 Post processing done in Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Adobe Camera Raw.