red rocks

red rocks

Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona

I am incredibly fortunate to live in a picturesque area filled with red rocks, blue skies, and bounteous wildlife. I carry a camera with me wherever I go. I used to try to do this in the past but found myself parking my camera when I wasn’t officially working because the weight was uncomfortable. As a Panasonic Lumix Ambassador, I find that I have a camera with me at all times because the gear is lightweight and gives me the quality I need.

bell rock sedona arizona photoPath down to Bell Rock in Sedona made with FZ2500

My quest for lighter weight gear was prompted by my wife Holly who pointed out that I was hauling thirty-five pounds of photo gear with me on personal trips. When I said, “What’s your problem? You aren’t carrying it.” She replied, “Neither are you as you often leave the gear in the room because it is so uncomfortably heavy. My wife is a brilliant woman who knows how to pierce my sometimes thick skull.

courthouse butte sedona arizona imageCourthouse Butte – Images processed with Adobe Photoshop and Skylum’s Luminar 2018 **

Today I’m featuring the Lumix FZ2500 which is a prosumer camera. It can do almost everything as it is an all-in-one with a zoom range of 25-480mm and tons of features. The FZ2500 is a little under 2 1/2 pounds. The beauty is that it can focus in macro mode almost as close as you can get the camera to the subject. With the built-in f2.8-4.0 power zoom lens, it has a reach of 480mm optical. That’s a long way!

closeup courthouse butte sedona arizona photoDetail of Courthouse Butte

One more thought is that many times a crop of the photo can be much stronger image and tell the story in a better fashion. Here’s square crop of the top photo in the post.

bell rock sedona arizonaA stronger rendition of the top photo with a square crop.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

PS – Take ten bucks off Luminar or other Skylum software with the coupon code – COATES

more from the driveway

more from the driveway

More Images from the Driveway

When your mobility is cut down things that you take for granted become apparent. Assuming you can hop in your car, go for a hike, walk without assistance and generally go where and when the mood strikes you. (first images from the driveway here) Rehab underway and trying to get full mobility once again. Here’s what I am working on in trying to keep the creativity flowing.

false bird of papdise flowerBlooming Yellow Bird of Paradise set against a mesquite tree. The long reach of the Lumix FZ2500 (25-480mm) compressed the scene and allowed me to fill the frame with color and pattern.

hesper aloe plantThe is the bloom from a hesperaloe plant that I isolated against textures of mesquite pollen and leaves. Nothing spectacular but a little exercise in play. I’ll share my failures, as well as those I think, are more of a success.

cloudsClouds are always a source of wonder for me. The myriad shapes, layers, texture, and color are always an excellent source for images

antsAnt Dance. These critters are FAST. Had to spend a fair amount of time finding them in a still enough position. As a friend noted after seeing one of these ant photos, “I am getting a bit antsy!”

Thanks for following along and I hope some of the ideas I share are helpful to you.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

meet scoot

meet scoot

Meet ‘Scoot’

and the visit to the Blooming Mesquite Tree

Here’s my new best friend ‘Scoot.’ Scoot makes it possible for me to move about as I work to rehab my Iliopsoas muscle. The scooter is there for a bit of support when the pain in my a** gets too intense. But mobility leads to some possibilities.

walker photoMeet ‘Scoot’ My new best friend for a while.

I broke out the Lumix FZ2500 because of its range and all in one 24-480mm f2.8-4.0 Leica DG Vario-Elmarit lens. This is the first time I’ll have a camera in my hands in over a week. Can you say withdrawal?? I had asked my wife Holly to bring a camera to the hospital to document some of the things going on around me. Too much pain, not enough sleep and worrying about the camera being in a hospital environment. My wife told me I was nuts to even think of doing that, once again proving that my wife is the smarter of the people in our marriage… and I was wrong again.

Onward to day’s walk to the end of the driveway. I made it under the mesquite tree and was pausing for a break. Lo and behold I was enjoying the soft fuzziness of the yellow blooms against the beautiful blue sky. Off the get the camera and an excuse for a bit more exercise.

mesquite shadowGoal. The shade under the mesquite tree at the end of the driveway.

Once underneath the blooms, I started looking for some interesting compositions.

mesquite tree bloom imageThe sharp yet soft bloom of the mesquite against the Arizona blue sky.

bee in mesquite blooomA pollinator visits the yellow bloom

I guess I’ll have to be creative find images within this 100-foot circle until I can begin to range further.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

time lapse at night part 2

time lapse at night part 2

Time-Lapse at Night – Clouds and Meteors – Part 2

Out for the second night of trying to catch the Perseids Meteor Shower. The largest amount of visible streaks across the sky were scheduled for the early hours of Sunday morning.

Set the alarm for 12:05 AM. Wake up 11:58 PM. Check cloud cover. Looks OK. Dress. Hop in the car. Head to the pre-scouted location at Bell Rock Vista one of my favorite rock venues for photos in Sedona. (partly because it’s five minutes from my house.)

About one minute of time lapse from three cameras.

Note clouds and lightning to the south. Thankful there’s an open to the sky ‘window’ to the north.

Set up cameras. Yes, cameras plural. When photographing images for time-lapse video one thing you end up with is time. Once a camera is set, and recording do not touch, bump or adjust unless you would like to restart the sequence.

Camera one – Lumix GH5 with Leica 12mm Summilux f1.4 lens. This camera and lens combination ended up giving me the cleanest, sharpest files. I set the camera for RAW capture. Note that RAW files can chew up some real estate on your card. Make sure you have a large capacity. **

Camera two – Lumix GX85 with the Leica 15mm Summilux f1.7 lens. This set-up is a great go-to set up for night skies.

Still form time lapse captureHere’s a single still image from the shoot. Processed in Photoshop

Camera three – The Lumix FZ2500 with a built-in 25-480 Leica DC Vario-Elmarit F2.8-4.5 lens. This is best shot at the 25mm setting to keep the f2.8 aperture. As you’ll note in the video, this is the only camera lens that showed condensation toward the end of the sequence. It was a VERY moist and humid night. This camera must generate a little bit of heat as time goes on. In less humid situations I wouldn’t see this as a problem.

A great resource for deciding what exposure settings to use including various camera and lens combinations may be found here. I highly recommend checking out the rest of Ian Norman’s blog Lonely Speck. Lots of helpful info there to set you on the right path. Remember the guide gives you a starting point. You still must experiment to get the most from your experience.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

Working on my settings for better quality imagery. Any lack of quality is purely operator error!

** The GH5 has two cards slots and can be set to behave in a variety of ways including to continue recording on the next card when one fills up. Very handy for lots of captures. When not gathering images for time-lapse the cards can be set to be an automatic back-up by writing to the cards simultaneously, RAW files to one card, jpegs to the other, videos to one card and stills to the other, etc. But I digress.

tech talk on kazm

tech talk on kazm

Tech Talk Radio Show – KAZM Radio

Had a chance to visit with Tom Taback (sitting in for Mike) on my monthly Tech Talk appearance at KAZM Radio station in Sedona, Arizona.

tom taback with bob coates on the radioTaback & Coates recording Tech Talk – Photo by Josh using the Lumix FZ2500

Tom and I chat about new Lumix cameras and some of the features that help get well exposed images. We also chat about advanced features, creating art and where I’ll be traveling to share info on photography and the Lumix line of cameras.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – In the program I refer to the Lumix FZ1000 (which is a fine camera too!) as the camera I have with me. It is actually the newer model Lumix FZ2500


working the scene part two

working the scene part two

Working the Scene – Part Two

A couple of days ago I shared some ideas on working a scene to yield more and/or better images from a landscape photography shoot. See that Post here. The post was getting a little long, so I decided to continue sharing a few images and some more ideas.

I talked about using technology to improve upon a capture along with changing the view of the scene and not getting locked into the first composition you feel works. I did lock down my Lumix GH5 on a tripod on what I felt was the best image with lots of depth and dimension to layer passages of time into the final process. That’s why I also carry an additional camera to capture other areas and things which grab my attention.

courthouse butte with bell rock photo sedona arizonaThis image was processed in *Macphun’s Luminar Neptune used as a plug-in in Adobe Photoshop. Luminar can also be used as a stand-alone program to process your files.   As shown below and I wasn’t able to pull the details and color the way I wished.

HDR process imageThis was the original process using Aurora HDR 2017 and four of the five one-stop exposures I made of the scene. I wasn’t able to pull the details and color the way I wished. Then I moved to Luminar for the finishing. (see the top image in the post)

So a different angle and a different ‘feel’ give me more from the shoot.

Let’s keep going with a couple more examples.

red rocks of sedona photoZooming into the scene has a more intimate feel. The lighting shown here was a situation the appeared and disappeared quickly. Able to capture it with the FZ2500.

common desert beetle photoWhen I posted this little guy on Instagram, I received a few EWWW’s, but I feel a bit of real nature’s beauty here. He’s kind of cool!

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – * Luminar is in Beta for Windows machines. Check it out here.