Category Archives: Equipment

Logan’s Toy

Back in August, Logan purchased a new mirrorless Sony camera. I took it for a brief run through my backyard for fun.

I’ve been on the struggle bus lately because it is about time that I purchase a new camera but I can’t decide if I should stay in the world of the DSLR or join the mirrorless revolution. The issue being that Sony really only makes one DSLR that is better than my current DSLR.

Mirrorless is undeniably the future, but to make the move, I would have to commit to an entirely different lens lineup and I kind of like my current lenses. Not to mention I shudder to think what it would cost to replace them with comparable lenses.

I haven’t made my mind up and an upcoming auto bill means that I probably won’t pull the trigger any time soon, but we’ll see what happens. I could probably spend that money in better ways, but we both know that isn’t really what I do.

Here are some pictures I made playing with Logan’s mirrorless camera:


Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

Logan's Toy

I guess there is no rush to make a choice. The 77ii is still going strong, even though I thought I had killed it twice this year under some rainy circumstances.

The number one thing other photographers don’t respect about me (to my face) is my lack of care for my equipment. But you know what? I’m going to get the shot I want!

#totallyfiltered

Going to go ahead and add a Sunday entry for a bit as I effort to get caught up with the 2019 backlog. I don’t think these Sunday entries should last too long as I don’t think I’m that far behind with Sunday photo editing, but truth is, that I am 100% in denial about that.

This collection of photos is mostly me just playing around with physical filters and in-camera filter effects with Naima as my unwilling model. Little known fact about Naima, she doesn’t really like getting her picture taken all that much. Which is weird, since she loves attention so much.


#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

Probably a lot of “what the hades was that” thoughts when people viewed those images. That is okay. Not all of my photography is for everybody.

Week 225 Theme Reveal

Today I reveal the 2020 Photography 139 Calendar images for September and October.


2020 Calendar - September
September

The September image is of the Union Pacific Big Boy. It was taken a few miles east of Boone, near Jordan. It was taken on August 2, 2019. The Big Boy was on a tour to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: f/8
Exposure: 1/400
ISO: 100


2020 Calendar - October
October

The October image was taken in the Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fair. The subject is a monarch butterfly on top of a zinnia. The picture was taken on August 19, 2018.

Details

Camera: Sony ILCA-77M2
Focal Length: 200mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure: 1/320
ISO: 400

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If things go right, by the time you read these words I will be somewhere in Illinois or Missouri or maybe even Kentucky on my way back from Orlando, still high from a Cyclone victory of Notre Dame.

Therefore, when I get home from Orlando I will publish all the submissions for last week’s theme CANDID PORTRAIT.

However, just because I’m out cruising through the country, doesn’t mean you should be delayed on starting this week’s theme:


WEEK 225 - HDR
HDR!

HDR! What a great theme! Wait a second. What the Hades is an HDR image?

Okay, so this is the one that I was pretty sure would end the double digit submission streak. If the holidays didn’t end it already, but CANDID PORTRAIT is a pretty easy theme especially when, is there a better CANDID PORTRAIT opportunity then little kids opening presents on Christmas morning?

But none of that answers the question what is an HDR image? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Here is a great explanation from Digital Trends:

HDR stands for “high dynamic range.” For those who aren’t so acquainted with this high-tech shutterbug lingo, dynamic range is basically just the difference between the lightest light and darkest dark you can capture in a photo. Once your subject exceeds the camera’s dynamic range, the highlights tend to wash out to white, or the darks simply become big black blobs. It’s notoriously difficult to snap a photo that captures both ends of this spectrum, but with modern shooting techniques and advanced post-processing software, photographers have devised ways to make it happen. This is basically what HDR is: a specific style of photo with an unusually high dynamic range that couldn’t otherwise be achieved in a single photograph.

The best way to think of it is several pictures taken at different exposure levels, combined to create one image.

How the hades am I going to do that? Well, it isn’t as hard as you think. Pretty much every camera (including your phone camera) has a setting that will do this for you automatically. For example on my Pixel 2:



I can turn off and on HDR. Or even enhanced HDR. Look under you camera settings, you can find it there too.

You can also try to get fancy and take individual pictures yourself and try combining them yourself. You can even use an HDR toning program to create an HDR image from just one image.

As you can see, this isn’t an intimidating theme at all. You can literally take a picture of anything, as long as you change a setting on your camera before you take the picture.

It is almost too easy!

WPC – WEEK 220 – COLORFUL

Before we get into the meat of today’s post, I just want to throw out a quick prayer request out there. On Friday when I was ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, a woman that I don’t know handed the money directly to me and asked me to pray for her. She has a job interview on Monday (today) and she really needs that job. It is possible at this hour that she has already had the interview and the decisions have already been made*, but if you are the praying type, throw up a quick prayer for this woman.

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COLORFUL really inspired a wide group of people in many different directions. We’ve reached a double digit streak for weeks with double digit submissions!

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 220 - COLORFUL - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie Dewaard

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 221 - HIGH PERSPECTIVE
HIGH PERSPECTIVE

HIGH PERSPECTIVE! What a great theme! But what is a HIGH PERSPECTIVE image. Think of it like this 97% of the images taken in this world, in a study I just made up to back up my point, are taken from exactly the eye level of the person taking the picture. A HIGH PERSPECTIVE picture challenges you to do one of two things. Find a way to get higher up than normal ground level and take a picture. Climb a ladder. Go on a roof. Take your company helicopter for a spin. Or, you could simple look down and be higher than your subject.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

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HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very high Monday!

*This isn’t my understanding of the way prayer works, but using for illustrative purposes.

The New New

I have recently had a battle in my head and in my wallet. I knew I wanted to purchase a new camera that was something like an action cam, only so much more. It has the qualities of say a GoPro, but the image quality is vastly superior. The amount of control you have with the camera is like night and day.

The camera I’m talking about is the Sony RX0. I had it in my sights for several months. Then Sony went and released the Sony RX0 II. This put in something of a quandary. Three months ago, there was nothing wrong with the Sony RX0, but now there was a Sony RX0 II that was superior.

I had to make a decision. By the old and save a few bucks or pull the trigger on the new and lighten the wallet a bit.

Lucky for me, while I was wrestling with the decision, a bit of an unforeseen windfall landed in my lap and I decided to pull the trigger on the Sony RX0 II.

I’ve only had it since Tuesday, but I already love the little guy:


Sony RX0 II

Happy birthday to me!

Here are a few of the first pictures I’ve taken with the RX0 II:


First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

First Pictures

Here are some of the specifications of the camera:

Number of Pixels (Effective)Approx. 15.3 Megapixels
Lens Type ZEISS Tessar T Lens, 6 elements in 6 groups (6 aspheric elements)
F-Number (Maximum Aperture) F4.0
Focal Length 7.9mm
Focus Range (From the Front of the Lens)Approx. 0.66′ (20cm) to Infinity
Focus Area Wide (25 points [contrast-detection AF]), Center, Flexible Spot (S/M/L)Expanded Flexible Spot
ISO Sensitivity Auto (ISO125-12800, selectable with upper/lower limit)
125/160/200/250/320/400/500/640/800/1000/1250/1600/2000/2500/3200/4000/5000/6400/8000/10000/12800 (Extendable to ISO80/100)
White Balance Modes Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent
Fluor.: Warm White, Fluor.: Cool White, Fluor.: Day White, Fluor.: Daylight, Underwater Auto, C. Temp./Filter, Custom
Electronics Shutter 1/4″ – 1/32000
Continuous Shooting Speed Speed Priority Continuous Shooting: approx. 16fps, Continuous Shooting: approx. 3.5fps (Maximum) (With Max. Recording Pixels)
Waterproof Yes (IPX8 equivalent)
Dustproof Yes (IP6X equivalent)
Shockproo fYes (6.5′ (2.0m) (MIL-STD810G C1 Method516.7-Shock)
Crushproof Yes(200kgf/2000N/440lbf)

I made an unboxing video of it the RXO II for the YouTube Channel. It isn’t necessarily something I would recommend watching, unless you really like unboxing videos. It is in black & white, because I lazily didn’t check my camera settings before I started recording:



It isn’t the most watchable video in the world, but it allows me to practice my minimal video editing skills.

I’m going on a Birthday Road Trip on the morrow. I plan on using the RX0 II to do a vlog of the trip. I’m definitely not going to get in the habit of vlogging, but I wanted to test the RX0 II as a vlogging camera because some people say it is the greatest vlogging camera ever and some say it isn’t good for it at all.

One last thing, if you are a GAME OF THRONES fan, we will be watching the series finale at The Union Street Theater on Sunday night. You are invited! Jay might even be making cake. He also has a 20 year old surprise.

Naima Takes Dickcissel

Dipping into the backlog again. This post finishes off all of the backlog from May of 2018! WooHoo!

It once again draws on a consistent theme. Me taking pictures of Naima at Dickcissel Park.

You might be wondering why I took so many of these pictures last year. The reason is because I spent a considerable part of 2018 trying to get the perfect picture of Naima running at the camera. Ears in the air. Tongue sticking out of her mouth. Silly dog smile on her mug.

I also had an obsession with getting a picture of her in the water. From underwater. But that is a project that will continue into 2019, I do believe.

Here are some more Naima pictures:


Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Gotta keep hammering away at that backlog!

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Also, since the purchase of the drone, I’ve decided to start actually adding some content to my YouTube channel. In the past, the YouTube channel has only really existed so I could like other YouTube videos. Over it’s 10+ year existence, I’ve only uploaded like 30 videos.

That will hopefully change in the coming months. ‘

I recently put up my first “test” video. It was mostly a test of if I could figure out how to do it. I’m not particularly good at video editing and it shows in this video. What also shows is how terrible I am at sound recording.

I hope my video editing skills improve. We’ll see about the sound recording skills. Actually I have no choice but to improve on sound recording. You’ll see when you watch the video.

So below, checkout this YouTube video I made on DJI Mavic 2 Pro Quickshots with Bethany as the guinea pig:



If you don’t subscribe to my YouTube channel, please do because when I hit 100 subscribers, I can customize my channel’s URL. In the future, there will be more drone videos and I have plans for more videos revolving around the birthday present I’m giving to myself.

Also, a big shoutout to Joe who is helping me with video editing. The video is edited with an open source video editing program called OpenShot.

Lazarus Come Out!

A few weeks back Rodan139 took a tremendous tumble from the sky. According to the flight log, Rodan139 fell out of the sky from 190 feet. It was going 40.3 MPH when it hit sweet, round, Mother Earth.

Rodan139 was a hurting unit when I got to it. A couple arms were broken off, the camera was barely hanging on, and most of the body was considerably damaged.

To be brutally honest, it sucked. However, Rodan139 is just a machine. So I picked up his pieces and threw them in the Sir Pixalotmobile and Jason and I drove to Luther to have a tasty lunch.


Whatcha Smoking Tenderloin

Let me tell you, nothing mends the cracks in an emotional broken heart while at the same time clogs up the plumbing of a physical heart like a tasty, tasty tenderloin*.

After lunch I went home and did some research on the level of fiscal pain this accident was going to cause me. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but the worst case scenario was that I was going to have to push off the purchase of the Sony RX0 that I have been coveting for a few months now (but that is another dilemma for another time).

I contacted DJI Repair and they sent me a UPS Label to send Rodan139 into them. I boxed it up and sent it off and waited. What happened next surprised me.

They covered the whole thing. All the parts. All the labor. All the shipping. Covered. And what was covered wasn’t cheap.

Here is a list of everything they covered and what it would have cost:

Item List

Gimbal Axis Arm Module (Pro)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 160.00

Total Price: 160.00

Upper Cover Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 11.00

Total Price: 11.00

Middle Frame Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 13.00

Total Price: 13.00

Core Board Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 320.00

Total Price: 320.00

Vibration Absorbing Board (Upper)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 2.00

Total Price: 2.00

Rear Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 21.00

Total Price: 21.00

Front Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Front Arm Module (Right)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Repair Service Fee

Quantity: 2

Net Price : 65.00

Total Price: 130.00

Tax

0.00

Shipping Cost

0.00

Total Amount

705.00

Discount

705.00

Total Payment (USD$)

0.00

You read that right. It could have cost me $705.00, but it cost me nada. Zilch. The big goose egg. Hmmmm…. I wonder what also costs about $705? That is a discussion for another time though.

What is not a discussion for another time is how amazing DJI’s Customer Service is. I was very impressed and I was glad that I decided to go with DJI when I decided to take a stab at aerial photography.

Yesterday at approximately 4:05 PM I was reunited with Rodan139. Now that I am complete again, I feel I can share a couple of pictures taken from that last fateful flight that ended in carnage of twisted wire and broken plastic.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Yesterday it was a little windy, so I took Rodan139 out for another very shorty maiden voyage.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

The last picture I took in my backyard as I wanted to test a night photography setting.

I definitely was the most nervous I have ever been on one of these little flights. In particular, there was a moment when I was out at the Harrier Marsh when Rodan139 was surrounded by a flock of birds. Visions of a bird smashing it to it and it tumbling to the ground danced in my head. I quickly rose above the birds, but I was shocked out how close they came to it. A mental note was made for future trips out to Harrier.

The weather on Saturday and Sunday does look promising. Although Saturday, Baby Got Rack might be doing a little research project. Oh… I’ve said too much.

*At this time, there will not be a review of the tenderloin. While I have very good perspective on what is actual tragedy and what is just “well that sucks”, I still wasn’t in the proper state of mind to properly assess the tenderloin.

The Future

The most recent filter I have tested from the super cheap filter kit was the green filter. The green filter is the last of what I would consider the standard black and white photography filters that I tested.

What does a green filter do? According to hoyafilterusa.com:

Less popular than the other colors but still very useful for specific types of photography. The Green filter is good for lightening the tone of green foliage which can give an other-worldly effect similar, but not has strong as infrared in some situations. Since it renders greens lighter it can be used in the scenic photography but because it also makes skies a lighter gray care should be taken to consider the scene and include as little sky as possible.

Here are a few examples taken in my backyard:


Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

Naima Green Filter Test

I’m not sure which filter I will test next, but I’m thinking it might be pink.

It Stands for the Sun

Yellow.

Yellow is the most recent filter from the super cheap filter set that I cracked out and tested. I still took mostly pictures of Naima, but I actually left my yard and went out to Dickcissel.

This, was perhaps, not the best plan. With all the space to roam, Naima is definitely harder to photograph at Dickcissel. Also, your shutter speeds often slow down when using filters, so a dog running all over the place isn’t the best subject. But I made do.

You might be wondering what a yellow filter does in black & white photography.

Here is an explanation from shuttermuse.com:

A Yellow filter absorbs all coloured light except yellow. It is the most-popular colored filter used with black and white film. Because a yellow filter absorbs blue, it provides significantly greater contrast between blue and yellow or white subjects. The classic example of the use of a yellow filter is when shooting black and white scenes which include portions of a cloud filled sky. Use of a yellow filter in this situation significantly darkens the blue portions of the sky, whilst allowing the clouds to remain bright and vibrant. This change in contrast gives the sky a vastly improved sense of depth and drama.

Here are some pictures from the yellow filter photo shoot:


Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

Naima decided she needed to dig a giant hole while we were out there. Here are a couple pictures in color to help you appreciate the mess she made:


Yellow Filter Test

Yellow Filter Test

The next filter I will test will be the green filter.