Category Archives: Equipment

Singleness

Photography 139 subscriber and all around swell person Alisa Baker was recently featured on the podcast “The Upside Down Kingdom”. I encourage you to give it a listen, because she has some real interesting things to say:



If you got this blog in an email, you will have to go to the website to listen to the podcast.

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I recently purchased a photo rail to help me do some super-macro photography. What is a 4 way macro focusing rail slider. Can’t picture that in your head. Well it looks something like this:


Singleness

The rail system really aids in doing some precision focusing with a super macro lens I purchased a couple years ago, but has very limited functionality and is very user unfriendly.

But with the rail, I was able to make these images on my first round of experimentation:


Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Singleness

Since it might be hard to figure out what the subjects of these pictures are they are sidewalk chalk, cherry blossoms, and a dandelion.

These pictures are not cropped. This is the full resolution of the original images. This new toy should be lots of fun!

I Don’t Know Why You’re Mean to Me

I took Thursday and Friday off this week to watch basketball. Obviously there is no basketball right now. There is no basketball for at least a month and there is no NCAA Tournament this year at all. I wasn’t sure if I was going to still take these two days off. I waffled for a few days and then I ultimately decided that I needed a few days off.

I understand that can sound tone deaf. To need a few days off, when there are many people that aren’t able to work right now. People who suddenly are finding themselves unemployed. I am blessed that for at least now, the Computer Mine is still open for business. I am also blessed that starting a couple days ago, the Computer Mine opened up the option to work from home for some employees. They started by opening it up to workers that are in high risk groups and workers that are around people that are in high risk groups. I fit into that second category.

I wasn’t sure I was going to work from home or continue to work from the office, but after listening to a few co-workers regurgitated Fox propaganda talking points, I knew that I no longer trusted my co-workers to make smart decisions for their health, for the health of the people the come into contact with, and the health of the people that they come into contact with.

Starting on Monday, I’m going to start working from home. Because of this, I spent Thursday building a computer to use as my work from home computer from some computer parts I have laying around. I didn’t want to complicate my main home computer. So that is what passes for ENTERTAINMENT for me yesterday.

I also added a web camera to my work-from-home-computer so I could have video calls with my co-workers:



It isn’t the best web camera in the world. In fact, it is the web camera I bought a few years back so I could set up a modest photo booth at my birthday party:


2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

But it will get the job done as far as video chatting goes. Because the one thing that I’m definitely going to miss as I work from home for at least a couple of weeks is some of my fellow miners. Most of them have opted to work from home, but I think Joe, Micky, Elizabeth, and Ron and a few others still seem to be committed to showing up to the mine. I’m going to miss you guys

Working from home does mean that I’ll have more time on my hands. I won’t have the 20 minute or so one way commute every day. My one hour lunch break will also be spent at home. Plus with not going pretty much anywhere at night, I will definitely have added time to work on my photography backlog. You guys might have to endure some days of TWO “An Artist’s Notebook” entries! Oh the humanity!

Hopefully the webcam will help with the social isolation. Hopefully my dog adjusts to having me around all the time!

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Since I mentioned birthday parties, I might as well mention that while I have been planning to have a birthday party this year, it is definitely off. Which is sad because Scottie D. and I had a tremendous menu planned. Baby Got Rack was going to cater the heck out of that party! You’ll just have to imagine what it would have been like.

What you don’t have to imagine what it is like, was what the invitations were going to look like. My nephew Logan took some of the photos that were going to be used for the invitations, that were going to look like they came from a political candidate. Here are a couple of the pictures that won’t get used:


2020 Birthday Party Invites

2020 Birthday Party Invites

2020 Birthday Party Invites

2020 Birthday Party Invites

2020 Birthday Party Invites

2020 Birthday Party Invites

That last picture wasn’t getting used for sure, I just like it. Maybe 2021 will be a better year to bring the party back!

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Last week I took more than one picture for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE, so here is a good chance to share the once that didn’t have what it takes to make the big show on Monday:


I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

I Don't Know Why You're Mean to Me

The pictures of Naima were taken with a new Lensbaby lens I bought for my new camera. I will probably going into some boring detail about it at some point in the future.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is ENTERTAINMENT:


WEEK 236 - ENTERTAINMENT
ENTERTAINMENT

I have no clue what participation will look like this week. However, I can assure you that even if you are taking social distancing to self-quarantine, this theme and every theme in the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is a theme that can be accomplished within the confines of your house or your yard.

Happy photo harvesting!

The New Hotness

I recently purchased a new camera. I don’t want to go into the details about what I am calling an “adult decision” at this time because when I open up on the details I’ve why I bought what I bought and the intricacies of the new camera and what it means for the future of my photography, it it going to take a bit of time. Most of you won’t want to read it. Heck, all of you might not want to read it. Some of you have already been bored with hearing about it already.

I received the new hotness on Wednesday and I just want to share some of the pictures I took on its first flight. Some are pictures I took of Naima in the backyard. Others are pictures I took at Youth Group.


The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

The New Hotness

If you are wondering what the Youth Group was doing, I had them make Valentine’s based on their understanding of God’s love. If you ever want to see these cards in person, they are on display in the Youth Group Room window that faces 7th Street.

I’m wondering how many of you are going to show up on Wednesday to support these amazing kids!

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This is your reminder that the theme for this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is OLD:


WEEK 232 - OLD
OLD

An OLD picture is of something or somebody that you consider OLD. Be careful telling somebody your taking their picture because they are OLD. Some people don’t take kindly to some young whippersnapper calling them old. Unless you are taking a picture of me. I fully acknowledge that I’m old AF*.

Happy photo harvesting!

*AF means autofocus, right?

I Just Smile, Once in a While

A few weeks ago I decided to buy a new camera. This isn’t the post about the new camera, because that one is going to get pretty deep into the weed, but this is a post that is happening because of that decision.

The short version is that because of the new camera purchase I started to look around at adapters. Something that happened while I was looking at adapters I came across some adapters that would hook my Dad’s Minolta manual focus lenses to my current camera and to my new camera. Those adapters arrived on Friday and I took dug out the lenses and took a few pictures:


I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

In fact, my WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE submission from last week was a picture I took with my Dad’s lens of Logan taking a picture with one of my Dad’s lenses of my Mom:


WEEK 231 - FAMILY - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

I’ll go a little more in depth on each lens in the future, but right now I just want to celebrate the fact that I can use them!

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.