EOS Elan IIePhotography
Over the years many people have told me that I'm a fine photographer, but it's mostly coincidental.  Thankfully I am learning, and have been gaining much needed expertise in the technical aspects of exposure and color.  One of these days I'll get a good grip on lighting.  Most importantly digital photography has freed me of "economy hesitation" - my name for the reluctance to press the shutter button on a film camera due to the cost of film and processing - which frequently results in missed opportunities waiting for that "perfect" shot.  Below are a few somewhat outdated examples of my work.  I'll get some more current pieces up here Really Soon Now.

When I started considering a hobby approach to photography I was using a Fuji DL400 (crappy auto with very unreliable auto-focus), and a Chinon Handy-Zoom 5001 for later photos (very nice 35-70mm auto, but just try to get support in the USA).  Both of these were thrown in the trash in favor of a Canon EOS Elan-IIe, which is an absolutely terrific 35mm film camera that's built like a tank but not quite as heavy.  That camera went literally everywhere, in all weather, and didn't mind bouncing along in my motorcycle's tank bag for many thousands of miles.  I still have it and it works fine.  A little Olympus Stylus Elite QD (F2.8) was my backup until it developed a light leak, so into the garbage it went and an old but reliable Minox 35EL went back into duty.

Then along came digital photography.  What a terrific way to accelerate the learning curve of photography!  No more waiting for the developer to find out what you have accomplished.  No more uncertainty about exposure or depth of field, etc.  I started with a Nikon Coolpix 950, which too now-defunct Egghead.com three months to ship.  This 2.11 megapixel beauty was my first introduction into digital photography, and provided much of the power and convenience necessary to help keep this web site current.  Here's a review and some examples of its abilities.  I've since sold it to an IR photography enthusiast, but I miss it now.

Then I added Canon's EOS 10D digital SLR and upgraded from the Elan's 380EX flash to a 550EX.  The 6.3 megapixel Canon is a heavier rig than what I'm accustomed to, though still far lighter than some other pro SLR digicams.  I can save some weight and bulk by using the 380EX instead or leaving off the flash altogether, and it works very nicely with Canon's 28-105.  Here's a brief review of the 10D.

When Canon introduced the 8.2-megapixel 20D, I had to have it.  The 10D stayed as a backup and got food-chained to the spouse.  The 20D offered a huge variety of improvements that, at least until full-frame digital SLRs limbo in under the $2000 mark, should making this the last digital SLR I would buy (for a while at least).  A short review is mostly complete.  Along with the 20D I purchased a 4GB Sandisk Ultra-II CompactFlash card, chosen with the help of Rob Galbraith's web site.  4GB can hold about a thousand JPG pictures at the highest quality, or close to three hundred even when using "RAW+L" which captures both the raw CCD data AND an embedded high quality JPG.

Lenses are addicting.  For the Canon cameras my all-around lens was a Canon 28-105 USM lens, a surprisingly good F3.5-4.5 which puts the kit's 35-80 lens to shame.  It started getting a little sticky and loose after many years of abuse so while it was being serviced I replaced it with Canon's rather beefy 24-105mm F4 L IS.  Some folks are annoyed it's not an F2.8 but I find the consistent aperture beneficial in light of my terrible habit of live cropping with the zoom.  I also put aside my old 75-300EF - a mediocre but light F4-5.6 - in favor of a 70-200mm F2.8 with Image Stabilization.  This three pound monster approximates a 112-320mm when used on the digital SLRs, and allows some stunning handheld far field work, though at the cost of the power-hungry IS widgets reducing the camera's battery life considerably.  This was soon followed by a very nice birthday gift - the Canon 16-35mm F2.8 L - which helped regain some of the field of view lost to the digital SLR sensor cropping.  I picked up a 50mm F1.2 but I have not used it as much as I perhaps should.  Canon's 1.4x extender and macro tube fill out the kit for all occasions, and my most recent lens, the 10-22mm EF-S has mostly replaced the 16-35.

Of course what's all that without a tripod.  A Korean-made Markins ballhead sits on a set of carbon fiber Gitzo legs.  The combination weighs the same as a cheapo Slik but is quite stable and the Markins is super silky and very well designed.

My handy go-everywhere backup camera is Canon's SD700 IS.  It is always on my belt.  After getting accustomed to the capabilities of the 20D the little guy can be frustrating, but it has never let me down, and has survived a few inevitable clumsy drops gracefully too.

Recently a friend introduced me to panoramic photography.  Since I'm a sucker for novelty I of course caught the pano bug big-time.  That's why I bought the 10-22mm EF-S lens and to go along with it, I also purchased a Manfrotto 303SPH tripod head.  Not being able to leave well enough alone, I got annoyed with that ungainly Manfrotto plate on my camera so I made a little change, discussed here.

A word about batteries...  The only thing left giving me a choice to use standard batteries is the flash.  I have more or less given up on rechargeables in favor of Energizer lithium AA batteries.  They drastically improve the Speedlite's otherwise frustrating recycle times, have a shelf life of several years, operate effectively over a much wider temperature range, are nearly half the weight of any other batteries, and last at least three times as long as alkalines.  The cost - about $2 apiece - seems prohibitive until you do the lifetime math, and they are worth their weight in gold in the aggravation they eliminate compared to NiMH batteries, such as the short shelf life, potential damage from deep discharging and the need to always check them.  I will continue to use the rechargeables I already own when appropriate, but don't plan on buying more and will never use them during an important occasion.

An old HP ScanJet 4c scanner, Adobe Photoshop and Cerious Software's ThumbsPlus! helped put many of the images on these web pages.  For color hardcopy I now use an Epson Stylus Photo R1800 after throwing a Hewlett-Packard PhotoSmart 1218 into the garbage, tiring of its expensive clogged cartridges and paper detection technology that never really worked.  The Epson is networked using the less than well-known SEH PS03a Print Server, which I have reviewed here.  The ScanJet is long gone now, that duty being performed with great mediocrity by a Brother MFC8840DN.  But a Nikon slide scanner fills the gap nicely, thanks.

There's more to life than stills and I'm happy to say that our Sony DCR-TRV8 Mini-DV Handicam is still going strong more than nine years after we bought it.  No disposable technology here!  Although we now have years worth of tapes featuring that camera's annoying motor whine in the sound track, it's still a fine camera and is also handy for doing NTSC/VHS-DV-DVD conversions with its realtime transcoder.  Thank heavens CPU processing power reached a point several years ago where we could dispense with Pinnacle's finicky DV300 and DV500 cards on our editing stations.  To this day Pinnacle can't seem to write stable software and it shows in ALL of their products.  Finally, since HD is finally coming of age, we recently added Sony's HDR-HC9 to the stable.  Yes, we're sticking with the Mini-DV format.  Adobe's Production Studio has helped us turn out a couple of very nice wedding videos and Any Day Now we'll get around to committing some of those DV tapes to DVD.

Many people know me as an amateur photographer but more so, as a "computer expert."  As a result I am constantly answering the question, "what is the best digicam to buy?"  Much of what I know about digicams comes from painstaking research and a lot of time on web sites like Imaging Resource.  Of course a quick answer is impossible, but I can't stand the oversimplifications I often hear either, so I wrote a quick overview of how to choose the best digital camera for yourself.  Enjoy!

Click on one of the thumbnails below to see a full-size image.
(More to come soon!)

BreakfastBreakfast
Taken in a diner, "just because
it caught my eye".

Harley Girl at NathansNathans
Bike Night Tuesday, Oceanside,
Long Island. Used Photoshop
to darken unwanted bits on right.

Bike RackNYC Health Club
67th Street and Columbus Ave,
in front of Reebok. Existing
street light.

1030 at the Bowery1030 at the Bowery
3-second exposure from south
of Delancey,Christmas season.

The SignThe Sign
Taken from atop Bear Mtn
during severe thunderstorms
of June 1998.

DriveDrive
More than 5 second exposure
with camera on tripod in car.
Convent Road, Nanuet NY.

Shoei GirlShoei Girl
Anonymous subject at New York's
Bear Mtn, gearing up for a ride.

Mister "Glen" Softee, beta 1.0
Mister "Glen" Softee, version 2.0
Experimenting with a friend, using
Adobe Photoshop 4.0

  Other fine original photography can be viewed in the Current Events section
and in various subsections under the Motorcycles area!

 


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