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Monday, February 28, 2011

Had a fun day today!

I packed up my gear with every intention of heading to the studio today then I saw the sun lighting up the ice that had collected on the trees and bushes around the neighborhood so I detoured across the street to the forest preserve. Walked around and took a few shots, then I decided to head North out to the 'burbs and my old stomping grounds- The Skokie Lagoons and I found even more cool stuff to shoot, at least to me.

Here you go:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nikon once again proves that high-end compact/point and shoot cameras are best left to others.

There is a category of small, compact cameras sometimes known as "Point and Shoot" but appeal more to the enthusiast, giving features formerly limited to SLRs' like full manual controls and the ability to provide what is called a RAW file, which is a completely unprocessed file allowing for a huge range of adjustment and manipulation. As it was once said to me by a great photographer: "The difference between a Jpeg and a RAW file is the difference between a nice snapshot and a pay day."

Some of the cameras fitting the category I've mentioned are: The Panasonic Lumix LX5, Canon Powershot G12 and S95, Olympus XZ-1 and at the high end- The Leica D-Lux 5. All these cameras are at the top of their category where they not only can be used as your basic point and shoots', but also give a full range of manual controls as well as the option of a RAW file output. The G12, LX5, XZ-1 and D-Lux 5 also give the nice feature of an optional external flash, and the G12 also offers a cool options of a twist/swing out LCD display AND an optical viewfinder. The LX5 and D-Lux 5 Offer an option electronic viewfinder as well.

Now along comes the Nikon Coolpix P300. Supposedly positioned to go up against Canon's S95 and Olympus XZ-1. Excerpted from Nikon's press release: "Created for the photo enthusiast who seeks creative control but will not compromise image quality for portability, the versatile P300 features manual controls, Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, and ISO sensitivity up to 3200. These features help create low noise images and faster shutter speeds, which minimize motion blur in low-light conditions like night portraits, even when handheld."

Guess what? No RAW file. For me, and anybody else interested in a camera like this- Its useless.

Nice going Nikon. Who would have thought that the manufacturer of some of the finest Digital SLRs' and optics on the market could continually screw up something your competitors have been getting right for years.

Monday's light dusting of snow.

As some of you will know, we got a light dusting of snow yesterday afternoon. I was driving in it and in my newly found decaffeinated existence found more of a sense of wonder than anger bordering on road rage. I had my Leica D-Lux4 with me (It almost always is) which had proven itself more than up to the task on numerous occasions when I wanted to take a quick shot without the burden of my full size gear.

So, driving westbound on Petersen Ave, I saw something and took the shot:

There ya go.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chicago Blizzard 2011

Photographically speaking, I found the blizzard to be singularly uninspiring. I couldn't begin to tell you why but I saw nothing that made me want to pick up my camera and go shoot. Maybe its the fact that I'm old enough to have been though (now) 4 blizzards here. I actually found it kind of relaxing just to sit on the couch in my living room and watch it all blow by, except for the parts that stuck to the outer pane of my huge living room window.

The next day was a different story. After clearing some snow around the building and going up and down the sidewalk (One of my neighbors did it the night before, so I wanted to reciprocate) I was back on the couch, enjoying the sun when it broke though the clouds and I noticed the ice on the window was melting and slowly sliding down. I grabbed my camera, fitted it up with a macro lens and "went to town", finding all kinds of cool (Maybe just to me) shapes in the diminishing forms.

The objects of my fascination: