Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Fall is coming

It’s the last day in September and the trees are now well and truly starting to change colours.  This photo is from fall 3 years ago with a Nikon D2X and my then new Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 ultra wide angle lens, shot at 10mm.  It is interesting to see how the 3 cars frame the tree and the fallen leaves; while the blue night sky contrasts with the red car, yellow leaves and the tungsten lighting.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Framing people

Some of my all time favourite shots by famous photographers have people inside a natural frame.  MOMA’s architecture gives a natural ability to shoot candids inside a frame.  Here’s a couple examples.

As you can see these photos were shot in relatively low light, and the D2X was never particularly good in this area.  Even at ISO 800, both shots are showing evidence of noise.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Jezza the Giant Tiger

Here’s an interesting little photographic series from the Plowing Match. Photographs can tell a story and lead a viewer down a certain path or train of thought.   To show the point, how would you finish off the last sentence below?

Jezza the Giant Tiger waving to all the young children at the Plowing Match

Jezza the Giant Tiger loading up people for a little trip

Jezza the Giant Tiger being questioned by Police for.......

In truth there was nothing at all sinister happening, but it does illustrate very clearly the impact a series of pictures and a few well chosen words can have on the viewer.

For those who are curious, Giant Tiger is Canadian discount store.  Its a cross between Walmart and a One Dollar store. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Nikon 18-200mm VR II test - Plowing match tractor fetish

I have a confession.  I have a secret fetish.  So when I saw all tractors at the Plowing Match, I was enthralled.  I remember the 3 tractors we had on the farm when we were growing up – a John Deere 2140, a David Brown 990 Implematic and a David Brown Cropmaster.

Here’s a few of my favourites.

John Deere with a huge boom spray - designed for horticulture use.

This lovely little Massey Harris from the early 1950's was pulling a wagon around, giving kids rides.

New Holland is the North American name for Fiat tractors.  They say "Made in Italy" along the side.

1950's John Deere with customary green paint

Monday, 26 September 2011

Nikon 18-200mm VR II test – Plowing match horses

During the Plowing match I went over to the ‘rodeo’ area and watched some people riding horses.  People riding horses around in circles doesn’t really tickle my fancy, but I decided with a little effort a good panning photo was there for the taking.  The idea is to create some blur to give the photo a sense of speed and danger, even if they weren’t really going fast.  I set the camera to 100 ISO and used f11 aperture, which gave a shutter speed of around 1/30th of a second, slow enough for some significant blur, and panned as they went by.  The idea is to get either the rider or the horse's head sharp.  Here’s a couple shots that worked out OK.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Nikon 18-200mm VR II test – Kids at the Plowing Match

After staying in Cornwall for the night, I drove to Hawkesbury and attended the International Plowing Match, a large agricultural fair that reminded me very much of the annual Lucindale Field Days that we attended when we were kids.

This is probably my favourite photo from the event – two children in a John Deere cart being pulled along by their father.  I LOVE the John Deere cart.  When our little one comes, that will definitely be an early purchase!

Even though this lens isn’t pin-sharp at 200mm, it isn’t bad, and really no different to most consumer tele-zooms.  What it does do is give you the extra range to grab quick candids like this one.  

 Footnote - I know I am going to be chastised by my Australian brethren for this, but I have chosen to spell the above as plow, not plough, as that is the official name of the event.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Nikon 18-200mm VR II test – Fighter jet

I’m a sucker for old stuff, and I fell for this old fighter jet as soon as I saw it.  I love the details on it, and the fading light made it a great opportunity to try out the VR on the entire zoom range of 18-200mm lens.  

  The jet is a memorial for those who died from the Cornwall area in World Wars I and II.   

Friday, 23 September 2011

Nikon 18-200mm VR II test – Cornwall border crossing

This week was the first time I really got to try out the Nikon 18-200mm VR II.  My initial impressions viewing off the screen weren’t that favourable.  It certainly isn’t a macro lens in terms of sharpness, but certainly the zoom range is handy for an all in one lens.  The VR also seems to work as advertised, but it doesn’t perform miracles - you’re still not going to get a sharp photo at 1/15th second at 200mm zoom setting.

However, when I got the photos home and loaded them on the computer I was more pleased.  Sure it’s not sharp like a macro, but colour rendition is nice and the overall look to the photo is pleasing.

During the week I stayed in Cornwall for business and snapped some shots around the town.  Cornwall is dominated by the large bridge that is Ontario’s most eastern border crossing into the US, and I got there just as the nice evening light was approaching.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The proliferation of EVILs

This is not a “The world is about to end" commentary, but a description of a type of camera like my NEX – Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangable Lens, or EVIL for short.

The growth of this category started with the Micro Four Thirds format with the Olympus PEN EP-1 and the Panasonic G1.  Then the NEX came out, and recently Pentax and Nikon added their own versions.  

Weirdly, both Pentax and Nikon chose to use compact camera sensors, the Pentax being the same size as the $99 point and shoots; while the Nikon sensor is the larger sensor found in the P100.  Still the Nikon sensor is still very small and has a 2.7x crop factor if you used a Full Frame lens.  That wide angle 28mm turns into a tele 75mm.  

The cameras do have a couple interesting features, like eye point viewfinder, but this is nothing new.
To me it looks like the Sony NEX 7 is going to be by far the best EVIL out there; with 24 megapixels, electronic viewfinder, easy access menus and that large APS-C size sensor.   Price point is meant to be around $1,200, so I better start saving!

These photos were all shot with the NEX around the College and University area, and shows how good quick snaps on this camera can be.  All were shot using the Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Nokton.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Mad Bat

Earlier in the summer this little critter turned up on our deck and glued himself to the back wall on the house in broad daylight.  He looked quite sickly, and he was NOT happy that I thought he would make a great model.   So I grabbed the D90 and after peeling off a few shots, he was done with all the attention and crawled away.