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4 years, 10 months ago 0

I don’t know why that is so indicative of me, but I push hard.  That is the sign in the window at the cleaners Igo to in Corbin.  Their door sticks in hot weather and you have to push hard to get it open!  I love to joke with Joe the owner about that sign!  I think in life, many times you have to push hard.  There is a difference in pushing hard after you get God’s go ahead, and just pushing in every direction, without a thought of the consequences!


God wants us to trust Him, and listen for His voice, but when the time comes to do His will, I know He wants us to do it with everything we have, which still will  never be enough, but if it is His will,  He will make up the difference!  I’ve often asked myself why I’m so driven to share His love, and to reach the lost!?  It is clear that He inspires us to be driven for Him. I harken back to the great line from the film What If;


“Life comes down to just two things; God loves you, so love others, and God sacrificed everything to be with you, so, sacrifice everything!!!”


Yes, it is just that simple, and that hard, but with His strength, we can do all things!


the pilgrim

4 years, 11 months ago 2

I’m still feeling the after affects of watching Scott Kelby’s new class on travel Photography.  I think for most of us, most of the time, a one camera, one lens system for travel, actually makes a a lot of sense.  So I decided to put it to a “Real World Test”.  I took Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday off to spend a little time with the family, (after working for 8 straight days), and took them to Dollywood Splash in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.  The number one rated water park in America, according to several Travel Channel editors, and one of my clients, I actually got a short pro visit in as well!.  I used the new D3200, a 24 mega pixel, compact DSLR and the 18-300 Super Zoom we talked about yesterday, (sorry day before yesterday).  This time I used it just like most consumers would, hand held!  In spite of the fact that the 18-300 has VR II and it works well, it is still not a fair test because of the 66 year old man hand holding the camera.  What follows are the kinds of pictures all people shoot on this kind of day out with the grandchildren.


Keep in mind that the goal of this kind of photography is different from the way many of us think about the photographic process, and in many ways, that’s good.  I have recently been making a number of images with my iPhone, mostly because it was the camera I had handy when I needed to photograph something.  I believe that reverting, from time to time, to point and click photography can really help you recapture the reason you started doing photography in the first place.  In my home I have a series of images spread over several rooms they are 24X36 prints and larger.  Most “normal” people, (not photographers per se) that come into my house stand back four or five feet from the prints and comment on them, mostly that they think they are lovely, thank you!   Photographer friends approach the prints completely differently, they stick their noses right on the prints surface looking to see just how sharp they are, or looking for noise.  The regular person wants to see what the photograph is about, the photographer wants to examine the minute details and look for flaws.  It’s all a matter of why we do photography in the first place, and my point is that we need to get back to making images for the sheer joy of capturing things that matter to us.  Yesterday with my family, I was with the people that matter most to me, and I wanted to capture them, and not worry about noise, or tack sharpness.  O.K. I worried just a little!!!


I believe that most people that buy a D3200 and decide to use one lens to cover it all like the 18-300 will approach photography from a less clinical perspective.  Before we examine the days shoot, let me make one thing clear, the D3200 is a very capable camera that if used with great care and technique, (tripods, support, etc), can produce images that are virtually indistinguisable from the most expensive cameras we make!  The point is it can make perfectly wonderful images with a more leisurely attitude about the capture method.


Simple point and shoot, family portrait of Wesley, Elijah and Abigail.



Another shot of Cassidy in her glasses of many colors!


One of the neat things about the 18-300 is the ability to shoot close-ups from the 450mm end of the range (300 X 1.5 crop factor)  The shot below is a full shot of a T-shirt my son-in-law Clint was wearing with illustrations of fishing flys, the close-up is what the lens can do in terms of close focusing ability.  * Keep in mind that his was a hand-held close-up shot at 450mm equivalent @ 1/80th of a second!!!!!!!   The VR II really works even if it is not tack, tack sharp!




While we are on the subject of close-ups and technique, my granddaughter, Cassidy,  saw a blue tailed lizard and snatched the camera to stalk it, her technique was better than mine, no big surprise!



The family went over to ride the big water slide called Fire Tower Falls, a water slide with a 70 foot vertical drop!!!  I participated by being the photographer!  Below is The Dollywood shot from the top and my very tightly cropped (about 1/4 of the full frame) of Clint coming down the chute!  24 mega pixels sure is handy when you need to crop to get the shot!!!!




Finally, the real reason for this kind of camera, in my set of gear, is capturing candid image of family members.  Below are two shots I got of my youngest grandchild Abigail.  Even though they and stand on their own I couldn’t resist showing a 100% crop below them to show just how sharp this camera lens combination can be!!




100% crop from top image of Abby, shows just how sharp the 18-300 can be!


This proves what the 18-300 is capable of and remember this is a hand-held shot at 1/800th of a second at ISO 400 and a focal length of 300mm equivilant.


So my final thoughts are that we keep seeing better cameras, with more capabilities, with each new model. This D3200, which will sell, with a kit lens, for around $700. is a great camera for any family outing, and if used with good technique is capable of outstanding results.  It’s also light, compact and has tons of resolution 24 mega pixels.  Even with the 18-300 you are still talking about around $1,700.  Not a lot of change for a camera, lens combination with tis kind of capabilities!!


Better than anything else was a great day, having fun, with the family I love so much!  Thanks to Sherelene, and my Heavenly Father!!!!


the pilgrim


4 years, 11 months ago 0

Years ago when I was running the GAPW, (Great American Photography Weekends), one of our star speakers, John Shaw, used to love to say he was waiting for  Nikon to make the 14-600 mm zoom that was an f 1.4!!!   Well it was a joke because everyone knew that such a lens was virtually impossible and if it could be made the front element would have be six feet across!  He also would say that if he had such a lens he would have to own two, just in case he dropped and destroyed one and lost his entire lens system!  Even though that was 25 years ago, it still actually holds a little truth.  First, such a lens will likely never be made, Secondly, having all your eggs in one basket is dangerous.   Fast forward to today.  The optical engineers are doing things we never dreamed they could do and super zooms are becoming a reality.  Nikon makes two zooms that have created a lot of interest, the 28-300 FX lens and the 18-300 DX lens.   This mini test is on the 18-300 DX Super Zoom.  When placed on a DX sensor camera this lens give the equivalent image size of a  28mm to 450mm lens, an astounding range.   This is cool on in itself, but it would mean little if the lens was not sharp.  The lens is not a f 1.4 but at f 3.5 to f 5.6 and given the great high ISO performance of current cameras, it’s very reasonable speed indeed.  Below I’ve shown two series of shots with the lens on a D800 in Crop Mode yielding a 15 mega pixel image. The camera is tripod mounted and the images were shot at ISO 400 on a very bright day to assure a fast shutter speed to aid in getting sharp images.  Having done all of that the sharpness is pretty much up to the glass in the zoom!!!


The  first series is of the tower at Oshkosh Air Show, the settings are from first to last; 18mm  –   50mm   –   200mm  –  300mm




The next shot is of an airplane zooming in on the panel, same zoom range as above.



Summery of what I think so far.  This lens is a kick to use, it is tack sharp, and works beautifully.  It is still an entire lens system in one lens, so I still have that fear of destroying it on an important trip, but then in 43 years of photography that has never happened, (to me), so maybe I’m being too paranoid??!!  I just watched Scott Kelby’s class last night on Travel Photography, which I highly recommend, and he says his standard system for travel now is a FX sensor body (D700) and the big brother to this lens the FX 28-300.  Hard to argue with Scott, and I do agree that your photography will be better the less you carry!


The less you think about gear and the more you think about the subject and the light, the better the images get!  For that reason  alone this is a killer solution for people using DX cameras!  I have to call on some clients in East Tennessee for the next couple of days so i will take just the new Nikon D3200 camera and this lens and see how it works on a trip with a variety of imaging possibilities!   For now, dang it, I’ve got one more lens I feel like I have to own!


the pilgrim



4 years, 11 months ago 2


Finally off the road after two months of almost non-stop travel.  Will be good to be closer to home in August! The best shot for Nikon from the air show was the one I led with for this post, Susan Scharenberg’s shot of one of the shooting towers at Oshkosh!  The first few days at Oshkosh were miserable with temps in the high 90’s and 100% humidity, later int he week some thunderstorms cleared the air and dropped the temps to the mid to high 80’s, bearable!  It was great to hang out with Tyson Reninger, a great aviation shooter, and Francis Yeh our wonderful repair tech!   We were also joined by Bill Kotar, Scott Diussa, and David Lee for part of the week, it was great to see all the gang again!


I did not shoot nearly as much as usual.this being our first year at Oshkosh and there was a lo9t to do to get organized for future events with them.  I did test the new 18-300 DX super Zooma and will post about that tomorrow, but I shot very little on this trip, I did get a few shots leaving Sunday and on the way home, hope you enjoy them!!


the pilgrim



A tractor on the side of the road in tall Wisconsin grass!



……..and finally a good looking pilot in the gift shop!



Photo Note:  All images, except for Susan’s Banner shot, with high end Coolpix type cameras.