outdoor photography part four

Outdoor Photography – The Gear Part Four

In part Four of this series on outdoor photography, I talk more about the why’s of the gear I carried on this occasion. You can see results from the shoot by checking out part three and working back to the previous posts.

Take a look at the video below for an in-depth look at my photo kit for a full day hike.

Video explains my reasons and gear choices

Here are links to all the photo gear from this adventure.

Lumix GX85 with the Leica 100-400mm lens – Rangefinder style camera with five-axis image stabilization – 4 pounds

Lumix G6 converted to Infrared by LifePixel (link to G7 with 14-140mm Lumix Lens the G6 has been discontinued) – 2.2 Pounds

Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens Rangefinder style body. – 1.5 pounds

Think Tank ‘MiriorlessMover 20’ Belt Bag with 7-14mm f4.0 lens and  12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens – 3 pounds

MeFoto Roadtrip Tripod – 4 pounds

Total weight – just less than 15 pounds. If I knew I wasn’t going to be photographing any focus brackets or exposure brackets I could leave the MeFoto Tripod behind. But, you never know. Rather be safe than sorry!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

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outdoor photography part three

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek Part Three

This is a four-part series. Here are the links to previous posts. Part one. Part two.

When out photographing for the day the camera that is converted to infrared makes shooting under the sun high in the sky quite interesting. Non-visible light can be captured with an IR converted camera. Lumix G6 (link to newer camera G7) with 14-140mm Lumix Lens. I used LifePixel for my conversion to a 720nm filter. There is quite an array of information on their website to help you decide what kind of IR filter to have installed on your camera. Many people put their older camera models back into service this way.

Usually, mid-day is not an ideal time for making images due to the high contrast of the light. This is exactly what makes creating images with an IR camera work the best. There’s high contrast, but it renders as dramatic with blue skies trending toward black and clouds picking up this iridescent glow. Green vegetation will provide white tones. This complete change in the way we view a scene creates excitement.

black & white infrared photo cathedral rockGreen trees render white. Blue skies turn black with white puffy clouds. Infrared photo made with Lumix G6 converted to IR.

The benefits to creating IR images in the digital realm is that what you see on the live viewfinder is what you get. To make this happen, I set the camera to monochrome and shoot RAW plus jpeg. The resulting image on the back of the camera makes it easier to judge what the final will be. The RAW files will come into the camera in a magenta color and need processing. The jpeg file will be just as you see them and still need a little post production work but don’t have as much information in the file. The RAW plus jpeg is the best of both worlds.

cathedral rock detail photoThis photo is a detail of the center of Cathedral Rock. The 14-140mm zoomed for in-camera cropping.

infrared photoI enjoy the light and airy feeling of deciduous trees when rendered with infrared.

side view of cathedral rock sedonaTaken with side light a bit later than ‘normal’ time of day for IR imagery and with side-light leads to very contrasty image rendering. I like it because it’s a wee bit different. Always looking to experiment.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – if you have a question don’t hesitate to give me a shout by leaving a comment!

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outdoor photography part 2

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek Part 2

This is Part two of a four-part series on a ‘day in the life on Oak Creek’ while photographing nature and wildlife. Check out the first installment here.

The second camera I brought on my nature adventure was the Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens. (1.5 Pounds) This combination is for capturing time-lapse and/or video. Because the lens is a pancake style it fits in my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 along with two additional lenses. On this day I ended up using the camera for video but I like to have the option of having the second camera body for taking time-lapse while photographing other subjects at the same time.

oak creek video still imageHere’s a still image screen capture from the video


Oak Creek and Cathedral Rock video. A little one and a half minute respite with flowing water and the spectacular rock formation that is probably one of the top ten most photographed places in the United Staes.

the video was captured in 4K quality. Shooting in 4K allows for creating additional camera movements like a Ken Burns movement in post production. A tiny tripod was used to steady the camera a bit but this was for fun and most of this was handheld. It tells the story of the day. The sound was recorded with the in-camera stereo microphones. The 20mm lens was a bit too static so I switched over to the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens. This lens has a wonderful range from wide angle to medium distance zoom.

The next installment will be centered around another camera and lens combination. The Lumix G6 and the 14-140mm G Vario f4.0-5.8 lens. This camera has been converted to infrared by Lifepixel and has opened up the middle of the day for more creative imagery.

Yours in creative Photography,        Bob

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outdoor photography

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek

Getting out into the open air in among the Vortexes of Sedona, Arizona is a great pick me up from being behind the screen of the electronic world in which we spend a fair amount of time as photographers. I chose to spend the afternoon on the banks of Oak Creek near Cathedral Rock and thought I’d share some ideas on the gear I assembled for my trek through the woods.

Since I was out for the afternoon, I took a lot of gear to have many options for various shooting situations. Included in that day’s kit were three cameras, five lenses and two tripods. The reason I was able to pack so many alternatives is that of the light weight of Pansonic’s micro 4/3rds camera system. I’ll share a video on the gear and my day over the next couple days but for now, read on about the first camera. Subsequent cameras and their use will follow.

wildflower near oak creek photoThis flower is about the size of my thumbnail. The 100-400mm lens almost works as a macro lens isolating details against a soft background. It’s all about the light.

Lumix GX85 with the Leica 100-400mm lens – Fast becoming one of my favorite combinations for wildlife and art photography. One of the reasons is the five-axis image stabilization plus two. This combination allows for an extra five stops of handhold-ability, negating the need for a tripod in almost any situation that does not involve multiple exposures for the creation of a single image.  Weight 4 pounds.

bird on a rock oak creek sedona imageOf course, reaching across the creek for small wildlife and getting plenty of detail is evident. The 100-400mm lens is the equivalent of a 200-800mm and with the stabilization makes for sharp images.

Another feature that helps in obtaining sharp images is the removal of the anti-alias filter. The filter was placed in front of sensors in the past to help prevent moire patterns. That is now being handled by the processing engine. The filter blurred detail. The noise patterns showed the adverse effects of this filter. Now I’m getting a film grain-like noise which is allowing me to push up ISO if necessary with no ill effects.

oak creek and pondI generally don’t bisect an image, but I stitched two images together to complete the scene. When I go to use this, I can crop to make the images more about the pond or more about the falling water.

These were just a few images from this camera/lens combo. Next post I’ll share why I bring the Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens. (along with a couple of others)

Yours in creative Photography,        Bob

 

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flower time lapse

Prickly Pear Cactus Time Lapse Bloom

I enjoy the ability to create time-lapse video in the Lumix line of cameras. Built into the cameras are settings that many cameras need an add-on to complete the captures. One of these is an intervalometer which makes it possible to set the number of images to record and the timing in between each capture that is made. Even better is the in-camera processing to see your videos almost immediately without having to download images to a computer for processing.

In today’s post, I’m going to look at three versions of in-camera processing and then another version where the jpeg files were downloaded, processed through Adobe Camera RAW and then run through Time-Lapse Assembler for a different look. Time-Lapse Assembler is a free download.

First, let’s take one of the original jpegs that I processed through Adobe Camera RAW and added a little zip and pizazz with the MacPhun Plugin from their Creative Suite called Focus CK.

cactus blooms photoOriginal SOOC (straight out of camera) capture

processed image prickly pearCropped to 16×9 aspect ratio and added some clarity and saturation in Adobe Camera RAW. Then finished off with MacPhun’s Focus CK plugin to add a bit more snap and intensity.

Here are the three versions processed straight out of the Lumix GX8 camera sized to 4K. You can choose any number of settings for size along with the number of frames per second. I used 6 fps, 12 fps, and 24 fps. Because I made these in 4K I am able to add additional movement to the videos without loosing quality.

Images were resized to 16×9 aspect ratio and saturation along with clarity was added. They were then saved out to jpegs. The files were processed into a six-image fps and twenty-four image fps videos. These were not able to have panning and additional movement as they were processed to HD size.

Yours in Creative Photography,           Bob

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simple image

Turning a Simple Image into Something More Complex

It’s always a push to try out new gear and push the boundaries a little bit. I was taking the Lumix GH5 out for a spin with the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 100-400mm lens which works well for wildlife and images that need a long reach. I was curious how I could use in my everyday art photography.

Since I was out in the wetlands and the birds were not cooperating I started playing. I had already experimented with motion while making exposures to get fantastic color palettes and forms. I would never have thought that a scene with great depth of field which I’m showing down below would have started with a lens of this reach. Here’s the scene. The Wind is blowing. Grasses are swaying gently. I focused in the middle on a single blade of grass. This emphasis point made for an overall softness on the scene due to the depth of field and the foreground being way out of focus and moving. The sharp piece of grass in the middle followed by more falloff and motion and in DOF with the background grasses.

original capture grassesFirst image Straight out of Camera as a RAW File.

“OK, Bob, I don’t get it. What do you see that I don’t?”

Here you go with a little processing in Adobe Camera RAW you will start to see where I am going with this.

adobe camera raw Added a little Saturation, Clarity, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights and Whites up and Blacks down to get to this point.

MacPhun Focus CKPhotoshop for a little clean-up on the grass stalk that had some scratches on it with the next stop MacPhuns’ Focus CK plugin to add a bit more sharpness and color and a slight vignette. P1033023_2_3_600pFinal settings were a change of Mode to Multiply and the use of MacPhun’s Luminar to add some more color and snap. I enjoy the feeling of depth and dimension achieved by this process. I’ve got a deal below for you to get Luminar and some other goodies below!


Luminar + Creativity Mega Preset Pack, Essential Pro Secrets for Unleashing your Creativity eBook, Ultimate Posing Card Collection, Overlays Variety Pack and first 3,000 customers will also receive a collection of Light and Bokeh Overlays for $69. Total value $250.

If you are already a MacPhun User pay only $49 when you use my coupon code or $59 if you are not already a Macphun user.

You Get:
Luminar, The Supercharged photo editor for Mac that adapts to your skill level.
Creativity Mega Preset Pack – 26 beautiful presets from Presetpro to create stunning looks in Luminar
Essential Pro Secrets for Unleashing your Creativity ebook by Ian Plant – Creative lessons and techniques for how to make your photos match the depth of your passion
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post focus photo mode gh5 part two

Post Focus Photo Mode – Lumix GH5 Part Two

Let’s look at some more examples of using the Post Focus Photo Mode (see part one here).

post focus mode gh5 lumixThe focus is all throughout the image. Detail works in this case.

gh5 lumix camera post focus modeWith the post focus mode used to capture this image there is still a soft bokeh even though the camera used every focus point in the processing. But because the background is so far in the distance the background stays very soft and all the flowers are super sharp.

I’ve been testing the Lumix GH5 and the Post Focus Mode in which the camera leverages a 6K Photo Mode wherein the camera creates a short video clip using all two-hundred and twenty-five focus points. Any one of these points can be pulled as an eighteen MegaPixel file. Or a range of images choosing a set of focus points. Or even better, it will combine all of the focus points into a fully focus stacked final image. This is an amazing technology to secure a look that is not possible in a regular capture with a camera. I love leveraging this tech to create artistic images.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

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post focus mode lumix gh5

Lumix GH5 Post Focus Mode

This winter and spring have been wonderfully wet in the southwest leading to one of the most wonderful flower bloom seasons in many years. With that said I have been chasing some of those blooms, especially the cactus as they are absolutely beautiful.

I’ve been testing the Lumix GH5 and the Post Focus Mode in which the camera leverages a 6K Photo Mode wherein the camera creates a short video clip using all two-hundred and twenty-five focus points. Any one of these points can be pulled as an eighteen MegaPixel file. Or a range of images choosing a set of focus points. Or even better, it will combine all of the focus points into a fully focus stacked final image. This is an amazing technology to secure a look that is not possible in a regular capture with a camera. I love leveraging this tech to create artistic images.

Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities using my cactus flower friends.

post focus lumix gh5This image has been processed using all the focus points processed in-camera from front to back. This is not necessarily a good look for this particular image as to the field of focus makes too much of the image in focus.

post focus lumix gh5Another image using the same Post Focus capture but processed with a range of focus points which helped to isolate the subject of the flower buds from the background. The beauty is that this can be processed as many times using different sets of focus points for very different looks. All in the camera!

Post focus mode in camera processing sharpnessHere is another image with everything in sharp focus. Depending on the story you want to tell this can be a perfect rendition of the scene with all of the thorns in sharp focus. Very prickly.

range selection on post focus on lumix cameraThis image has all the important information in focus with the background allowed to be more soft which has a different feel even though it was from the same video capture.

More on this in a few days.

Yours in creative Photography,         Bob

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wetlands sedona part two

Sedona Wetlands – Part Two

The other day I shared some traditional images from the beautiful Sedona Wetlands off of Highway 89A on the right if you are heading to Cottonwood. Here’s some more info from the previous post.

In addition to the straight images, I like to try something just a little more creative. It can be fun to push the images to an artier level. I guess that’s a word because my Grammer checker gave me the word when I tried more arty in the sentence.

wetlands grassesHere are some wetlands grasses that are transformed into blended shapes and colors by moving the camera up while making the exposure.

Very different effects can be created by changing the shutter speed or the speed of movement of the camera. Experiment until you get the image for which you are looking. There can be many pleasant surprises along the way.

grasses with movement at sedona wetlandsHere’s an example of an even slower shutter speed than the image at the top of the post which allows the colors to blend into an even more abstract look.

zen grassI get a very peaceful, easy feeling (Que Eagles song) when I look at this simplified composition of some new grasses poking their heads through the water.

All images were made with the Lumix GH5 and the 100-400mm f4.0-6.3 Leica DG Vario-Elmar lens. This camera lens combo is one I am enjoying for any shooting situation that allows for a bit of distance between the subject and myself.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

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six k photo mode

6K Photo Mode – Post Focus on Tech Talk

Post Focus is a handy mode to have in your toolkit. It makes it possible to create a hyper focus image with depth of field that rocks the house. Here’s an example I made when I was recording the Tech Talk Radio show with Mike Tabback at KAZM Radio in Sedona.

Here’s the Tech Talk Show which aired on May 10, 2017. We chat about the new technology in the Lumix GH5 including an almost endless focus available in using the Post Focus Mode. Find the demo capture and final image below.

KAZM – Tech Talk Show with Mike Tabback and Bob Coates Photography

First, here’s the video clip created with Six K Photo Mode. The recorded clip is less than two seconds. I have extended it to about six seconds in order you to see the camera making its way through the 225 focus points.

mike tabback kazm radioAbove is the image fully merged using the in-camera settings of show host Mike Tabback.
Sharp front to back! And everywhere in between
Creates an almost image size of almost 5000 pixels.

There would have been no way to have the KAZM logo on the microphone in focus as well as Mike further into the scene no matter what f-stop was used in a single capture. When a lens gets stopped down to the smallest aperture diffraction and diffusion get introduced to the image which can hurt image quality.

Image was made with the Lumix GH5 camera with the 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 Leica DG Vario-Elmarit Lens 

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

PS – If you have questions about using this technique or any ideas for future blog posts don’t hesitate to give me a shout. As a Lumix Luminary, I get the opportunity to work with a lot of the new technology including the GH5 Camera and some of the newer lenses that have been released. Leave a comment on this post or email bob@bcphotography.com

 

 

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