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.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Post 200

Interestingly enough this is my 200th Post on Snapshot Voyager, so a little reflection is in order.

For the administrator, Blogger includes some stats to follow.  The top six countries that people follow my blog are from Canada, US, Australia, UK, Singapore and Russia.  Almost 3 quarters of all viewers use Windows operating system, and about the same amount use either Windows or Firefox as their browser.
Interestingly, the blog posts with the most views can be split into 3 categories:
  1. Where I have posted a Snapshot Voyager link to another site
  2. Posts about people
  3. Posts about camera equipment and reviews
But more importantly, what have I gained from writing this blog?  For me it has been an opportunity to share my photographic learnings, document what I have achieved and discovered and show that photography really is a voyage of discovery.  And that, for me, is the whole point.

I hope you have enjoyed following this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  Here’s to the next 200 posts!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

NEX philosophy

I absolutely love the Sony NEX, but I do have a problem with Sony’s philosophy on the camera.  Apart from the pancake 16mm and the newly released 50mm, any of the other E mount lenses are comparatively huge.  In my opinion, if you can’t pocket the camera, you might as well get a DSLR, which has better AF, is easier to hold and a nicer optical viewfinder.

Yonge Street, Toronto.  Sony NEX-3 with Voigtlander 35mm f1.4

The new Carl Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens is meant to be amazing, but it’s 3 times bigger than the camera!  Same goes for the Sony 18-200mm.  I like that Sony has introduced a 50mm, but I think a 35mm (equivalent to a standard 50mm on full frame) in a small pancake like package would be better.  Something like Nikon’s excellent 35mm f1.8 would be perfect!

That’s why right now I have 2 systems – Nikon SLRs and Sony NEX / Leica.  Both perfect for different situations.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Lover’s Midnight Dinner – Montreal

This was a quick snap done a couple years back during our trip to Montreal of a couple meeting up for a midnight snack at the mall.  It was shot one floor above in a mall and I tried to work in a composition with the signage.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

EVIL Size comparison

Late last week I was in Future Shop  and decided to check out the new Nikon 1 series camera.  They had a J1 on display, but it wasn’t working.  So I did a quick eyeball size comparison between the Nikon, a Sony NEX 5n and a Olympus EPM-1.  Interestingly, the body size of the Olympus was the smallest, with the NEX similar, but a little deeper which actually makes for a nice grip.  The Nikon is taller and a little narrower.   I haven’t had a close look at the Pentax Q yet, but I’ve heard it is a lot smaller than any of the above cameras.

With no size advantage, a much smaller sensor and a high price, I cannot see any reason to buy the Nikon 1 series.  To me, this (and the Pentax Q) are $400 cameras.  The $700 - $800 MSRP is far too high, when this gets you the much superior Sony NEX-5n.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Pembroke on a 21

A few months back I took the NEX with the Voigtlander 21mm f4 Snapshot Skopar to Pembroke, and peeled off a few shots as the sun was setting.  Here’s a few that worked out.

This was one of the first times I used the 21mm, and I am very pleased with it. 

Legion Hall

Town Hall

The 50cm close focus allows shallower depth of field, even with an f4 maximum aperture.

Kayakers at sunset

The Post Office has very interesting Maple Leaf motifs in the wall, which looked great in the sunset.

Canada Post

Friday, 25 November 2011

Whatcha looking at??

I quickly shot this through a fence – a guy checking out a girl as she walks past.  It is slightly cropped on the original, but is very interesting how the eye is quickly drawn to the main part of the photo, even though it is still a small proportion of the shot.  The framing by the fence and the leading lines from the brick wall take the viewer straight to the action.  I was a little slow on getting the focus correct, but had to shoot, other wise I would have missed the shot completely.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Movember Inspiration for Photographers

The Movember movement is where men (and sometimes women...) grow mustaches to support men's cancers.  I have found the perfect motivation for the photog in this old flier from Posso, a manufacturer of camera accessories such as tripods.  It's the most impressive 'stache I've seen in a while!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Sunken Ship

One of the tours a tourist can do in Tobemory is the shipwreck tour.  A glass bottom boat takes you above several wrecks and you can look down on top of it.  This ship was called the ‘Sweepstakes’ and was a 119ft schooner built in Burlington, ON in 1867.  In 1885 it was damaged off nearby Cove Island, and then towed to Tobemory where it sank in the Big Tub Harbour in 20ft of water.  

Photographing it was a challenge.  There were a lot of people around the glass bottom viewing section on the boat (hence someone’s elbow), and shooting above created a lot of reflection and lack of contrast.  To correct this I cropped the shot of the glass bottom, and added a lot of contrast, together with taking out a lot of brightness in the above water shots.  It makes the shot look a little fake, but at least it pulls out the details of the wreck.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Flower Pot Island Lighthouse Garden

Flower Pot Island is situated about 5km north east of Tobemory in Lake Huron.  It is the southern most part of a channel that ships must pass through when travelling between Georgian Bay and the open part of Lake Huron.  Ships in the 19th Century would pass through here to take goods to mid-north Ontario, which would then often travel overland to Toronto.  As it was the southern most point of this passage a lighthouse was critical.  This lighthouse was manned from 1897 until 1987, and the light house keeper and family would have to live here, with contact only every month or so.  Interestingly enough a nice garden was established, and here’s some shots from it.

 The best way to shoot flowers of a consistent height is to level the camera at that height and shoot across the top of them.   The other thing to do is to look for multiples of the same flower or patterns in the way stems bend.

Flower Pot Island is so named do to the natural weathering of the stone on the Eastern side of the island creating very distinct flower pot like shapes, as per the photo below.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Tobemory Lighthouse

A couple years ago we visited Tobemory ON, a little tourist town on the very tip of the Bruce Peninsula that is almost completely surrounded by the ocean-like Lake Huron.  In the 19th Century this was a major shipping though fare, and with the area frequented by fog, storms and submerged rocks; the nautical dangers created a large number of ship wrecks in the vicinity.  Because of this there are also quite a number of light houses in the area, like this one.  Many have been converted into automated, unmanned light houses, but some are falling into disrepair, as this one is.

Buildings in disrepair though often make good black and white photographs.  This one was shot in colour on the D2X then turned into black and white and some contrast added.   I also used a little Dodge and Burn on the door and sky to better balance the photo and bring out some detail.