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Using Smaller Frames

On my computer desktop, I have a folder labeled “To Be Printed”.

Every once in a while as I’m editing my photos, I’ll drop a copy of a favorite image into the folder. As the number of images within the folder grow, I feel compelled to make prints and get them up on the wall.

Years ago I realized that I didn’t have to always make huge prints. By printing smaller sizes more photos would see the light of day and keep from setting my wallet back too much.

To make best use of the limited wall space, I started to use sets of identically sized frames. They are light weight with glass or plexiglass to protect the prints and easy to hang.

A few of the favorite photographs get special treatment – they are printed in a larger size.



these are all 4″ x 6″ prints



here is a small section of the wall with three different sizes



these are all 8″ x 8″ prints



these two prints are mounted in larger 16″ x 20″ frames



this single print is 24″ x 36″



So get those images out of your “To Be Printed” folder.

When your “To Be Printed” folder gets filled again, you can simply change the photos.

Remember that you don’t have to think big; smaller sizes make attractive displays.

Same Place – New Face

25th March 2021

Visiting Monument Valley with the Grandkids

I have a habit of revisiting fabulously gorgeous places. Some have a magnetic attraction that just keep me coming back.

Each fall I ferry Mom’s car to Arizona and then back to Michigan in the spring. When I can make the arrangements, I ask one of our grandkids to come along to keep me company and in turn share some wonderful sites with them.

The small town of Kayenta, AZ lies along the route between Phoenix and Michigan. A few miles north of the town along the Arizona/Utah border is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – a most unique and eye-popping location. There you will leisurely drive along the 17-mile dirt road to view a multitude of amazing cliffs, buttes and mesas.

These photos were taken at a spot with with either the iconic West Mitten Butte or Merrick Butte in the distance.



Taken April 2011


Taken July 2014


Taken Nov 2014


Taken Apr 2015


Taken Apr 2018


Taken Apr 2019

The photos are a great way for me to remember this magnificent area. Hopefully the grandkids will recall their visit in years to come.

Zooming In

18th March 2021

Zambriskie Point is of my favorite areas to visit in Death Valley. I am awed by its magnificent landscape created by millions of years of erosion. When climb the steep path from the visitor entrance, you’re immediately greeted by the heavily textured, sandy colored alluvial fans.

This day as I walked up the path I could barely see two people standing on one of the flat areas in the distance. They looked like ants on the rocks. The juxtaposition of the tiny figures against the huge backdrop of these badlands was an interesting view.


 

My equipment was a Sony NEX-7 camera with a medium 18-200mm zoom lens.

This is the image that I captured of the couple.

The EXIF data tells me that the lens was zoomed to 44mm.



 

The above photo was the only one that I took of the couple.

When I viewed the image in my “computer darkroom”, I wanted to see how the scene would look if I had used the zoom feature of the lens. I magically zoomed by cropping the original image.

The result is that the the couple and the rocky landscape show up in much more detail.

Which one do you preferr?



While I like both images, I prefer the zoomed in version. This is an example of composing your image after the fact.

Iceland – a city view

15th October 2018

Reykjavik – the capital


Like many others, I have a bucket list of places that I’d like to visit. Over the past few years, my list has grown shorter as I work my way around. But high up on the list was my wish to visit Iceland. Early this month I finally made the trip to this island nation that sits way north, close to the Arctic Circle.

From Detroit, you can reach Iceland in about six hours. That makes it a shorter flight than one to either London or Paris. Ahead of time, I understood the weather to be quite variable but on the wet, cold and windy side. When I arrived in early October the temperature was about 40 degrees but the strong winds made it feel much colder.

I was prepared for the rain but wasn’t for the cold and wind so ended up purchasing a warm winter parka before setting out to explore Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and main city. Its population of 125,000 represents about 1/3 of the entire country. It sits along the western coast and is surrounded by beautiful mountains.






















I hope you’ve enjoyed the colorful and picturesque city landscapes, architecture and very walkable areas of Reykjavik.

 

 



 

 

 

 

Drive By Cross Country

22nd August 2016

From the Midwest to the West at 75 mph

It’s a long way from Grand Rapids, Michigan to the western USA and when you’re driving there’s an awful lot of space between here and there. For those of us who enjoy traveling, there are many familiar sites along the amazing interstate highway system that connects the great expanses of our country.

My journeys are accompanied by a camera or two. These cameras usually stay packed until we reach our final destination. However, I have a nice little point-and-shoot which sits on the dashboard – waiting for me to grab it to capture “stuff” as we pass by at highway speeds. Below is an abbreviated scrapbook that shows you some of that stuff that we saw along the highway as we made our way from Michigan to California. Excuse me if some of the photos are 75mph blurry.

 



the rolling farmlands of Illinois

the paths between rows in Iowa are irrigation ditches


colorful clouds as the day nears sunset

huge irrigators watering corn


rolls of hay in Nebraska fields

gigantic stockyard in Ogalalla, Nebraska


Lincoln statue near Laramie, Wyoming

oil refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming


solitary monuments near Green River, Wyoming

steep upgrade ahead in western Wyoming


skyline of downtown Salt Lake City

salt processing factory near Grant, Utah


Tree of Utah sculpture

production company filming at Bonneville Salt Flats


mountains leaving western Utah

mighty diesels pulling freight at Battle Mountain, Nevada


hillside letter at Carlin, Nevada

work train near Lovelock, Nevada


weather approaching Reno at sunset

Lake Tenaya in Yosemite Nat’l Park – driving much slower!

 

 


the compact Canon SX710

it’s small but capable of recording excellent images

 

 

I hope you enjoyed our most recent cross-country adventure in these few photographs courtesy of my handy Canon SX710 camera.

 
Written by: Arnie Lee

 

 


SuperBloom

11th March 2016

The Desert Explodes with Color

Nature never ceases to amaze me.

Death Valley National Park is the driest, hottest place in North America. Although its climate isn’t very hospitable, wildflowers do appear each Spring. However this past October, a series of rainstorms set in motion the favorable conditions for a literal explosion of colorful wildflowers that blanketed the normally harsh landscape of the park.

This phenomenon happens seldom, perhaps once in every 10 or so years and arrived in mid-February. When I visited Death Valley in early March, I was fortunate enough to see many fields still shimmering in the SuperBloom.
 





 


I’ve visited Death Valley more than a dozen times previously, but I’ve never seen as many visitors taking in the colorful wildflowers as I saw in March.

Click here to see one of the DV Park Rangers describe a “once-in-a-lifetime” visit to Death Valley.

How lucky I was to be able to see this unexpected event.

Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

Canon 5DS

23rd March 2015

WOW – 50MP Sensor

The Canon booth at Wedding & Portrait Photographers International Expo certainly drew a lot of visitors who wanted to view and ask questions about the upcoming Canon 5DS.

The reason for the crowds was Canon’s earlier announcement that this new camera features a sensor with a whopping 50MP! This is a giant leap in resolution compared to existing full-size sensor cameras.

The camera body is remarkably similar to the 5DMkIII, both in size, weight, LCD monitor and controls. But it’s the inside where the action is. The sensor alone has more than twice the MkIII’s 22.3MP resolution. The 5DS uses a pair of the next generation DIGIC 6 processors to handle the additional pixel load.

A new feature lets you crop to either 1.3x or 1.6x to match the lens factors of the EOS 1D and APS-C respectively. In turn, camera blurs the cropped portion of the image in the viewfinder and provides resolutions of 30MP and 19MP. The mirror lock-up has also been improved to minimize camera shake. Canon has also added an intervalometer for time-lapse photography without requiring a remote control.

So while Canon has drastically increased the resolution of the sensor, the tradeoff is in the sensor’s sensitivity. The normal high ISO for the 5DS is 6400 compared to 25,600 for the 5DMkIII. So this is the price you’ll pay for higher resolution.



The 5DS autofocus uses the same 61AF points as the 5DMkIII. The metering is composed of 150,000 pixels RBG+IR found in the 7DMkII and is said to provide better exposures with artificial lighting.

In addition to the 5DS, Canon is also offering the 5DSR. The 5DSR cancels the low-pass filter to provide higher edge sharpness – useful for detailed subjects such as landscapes. Both cameras are scheduled for June release for prices of $3700 and $3900 respectively.

You’ll also notice that one of the photos above shows Canon’s new 11-24mm super wide angle zoom lens. This is not a fisheye, it’s a rectilinear but comes at a hefty $3000 price.

 

 

Written by Arnie Lee


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Taking Flight

08th February 2015

Things With Wings

 

Like many others, I’ve been fascinated with flight and things that fly.

On a recent trip to the parts of the USA where the sun is bright and warm, I had another chance to look skyward.

Here’s a short gallery of some of the sitings that caught my eye.










 
 

For those who are interested these photos are from Death Valley National Park, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, McCarran International Airport, Creech AFB, Nellis AFB and Everglades National Park.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

 
Mother Nature often stages wondrous events for us to see. One of these arrived today.

Those of us who arose early on this crisp Michigan morning had a perfectly clear sky to witness a full lunar eclipse. I peeked out my bedroom window and against a dark, black backdrop viewed a single bright orb slowly become a silhouette behind the earth’s shadow.

To get an better look, free of trees and leaves, I headed to my office a few blocks away to take in the magic show from an unobstructed balcony.

Once there, I grabbed a camera, a long lens and a tripod.

Here’s the lovely scene that graced the western sky.
 




here is where we’re just about approaching the full eclipse

as the moon settles toward the horizon, daylight is starting to lighten the sky

Here, the sun has awakened and brightened up the sky.

At this juncture the trees are starting to interrupt our view and we’re about to loose sight of the moon.

The sky gazers further west, perhaps in Nebraska or Colorado, are able to view the next stage – the unveiling of the moon as the earth shadow recedes from the sun’s path.


 
 
I thoroughly enjoyed the sights. In case you missed this morning’s, we’ll be treated to another lunar eclipse in April 2015.

What a wonderful way to start the day! Thanks again to Mother Nature for a fine performance.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 


 
 

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Am I Equipped Right?

30th September 2014

Like many other dedicated photographers, I’ve somehow accumulated a sizable stash of photo equipment over the years. I’ve also gained a lot of experience knowing what equipment I’ll need for a particular type of shooting.

My last two assignments were a combination of travel and outdoor shoots. My aging back and wobbly knees beg me to travel as lightly as possible for two reasons: a) to minimize the size and weight of the load that I carry and b) to reduce the amount of time I need to get ready for any given shot.

Since I don’t like carrying camera bags or backpacks, I rarely carry extra lenses. On hikes, it’s a chore for me to search for the right lens and change it on the fly, especially if wildlife is the subject matter. It’s far faster for me to slide the desired camera/lens setup on its shoulder strap up to my eye and be ready to shoot in a few seconds.

After these two recent assignments, I’ve zeroed in on a reasonable set of cameras and lenses to use when traveling long and far. I based my choice on the range of the lenses that I typically use: a very wide angle, a medium range telephoto zoom and a long range telephoto zoom.

For several years, I’ve come to rely on Sony’s NEX series of mirrorless cameras. Not only are they compact and lightweight, but they have several features that I appreciate such as the electronic viewfinder which instantly previews your exposure adjustments and a mode that captures in-camera panoramas. One drawback of these mirrorless cameras is that there isn’t a long telephoto lens available. For this I have to stick with a full-frame Nikon DSLR.



Here’s the short list that I’ve found works well for me:

For very wideangle, I use a Sony NEX7 with a manual focus Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

For the medium telephoto, I use a Sony A6000 with a Sony 18-200mm lens.

For the long telelphoto, I use a Nikon D600 with a Nikon 80-400mm lens.

As you can see, the Nikon DLSR setup is monstrous next to other two cameras. But lugging this heavyweight around is the price I have to pay for the lens’ long reach.



The NEX7 is a very a very capable camera. I like its large 24mp APC-C sensor, excellent electronic viewfinder and brightly lit tilting LCD.

The 8mm Rokinon lens is about 1/4th as large as my expensive fisheye lens for Canon DLSRs. Using the Rokinon lens I have to manually focus and set the exposure so it’s less convenient than the Canon setup. But the savings in bulk is a major plus for me.

Below are a few photos using this setup. The extra wide angle lets me record everything in front of me. I especially like how the fisheye exaggeratingly bends the horizon.



The A6000, Sony’s successor to the NEX7 is also mirrorless. Feature wise it is very similar to the NEX7 except that it has a superior autofocusing mechanism. This enables high speed captures at frames rates up to 11fps.

When not traveling, the A6000/18-200mm setup is my everyday camera. With a large zoom range I have a wide angle to medium telephoto in a single lens.

When traveling, it becomes my primary camera with the other two cameras reserved for special points of view. Below are a few examples that illustrate the versatility of the 18-200mm lenss.



The Nikon D600 is a full-frame DLSR with a 24mp sensor. It weighs in at two pounds which is twice as much as the A6000.

The Nikon 80-400mm zoom lens weighs just under three pounds making this setup a combined five pounds. Although this is hefty to carry, the lens lock (prevents the zoom from unintentionally sliding) keeps it secure while carrying it with a shoulder strap.

This long telephoto comes off of my shoulder mostly for the long distance shots such as these below.



So there you have it, my equipment of choice for outdoor photography. Of course, not everyone has the same preferences or requirements in the field as myself so this set up may not work universally. But for me being properly equipped has proved to be an ideal way for me to work comfortably, quickly and efficiently.
 
 
Written by: Arnie Lee
 
 
 
 


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