This is Braedon Paramore from St. George, Utah. Captured on a Olympus EM5 using the Panasonic Leica Nocticron – which is one of the best lenses I have tested from Panasonic. It’s highly emotive and capable of some very soft blur. The glass is super-sharp when shot wide open. You can’t say that for a lot of fast lenses!
One thing not a lot of people know about me as a photographer is the fact that I paint my camera gear on occasion. It’s mostly cheap lens hoods but also occasionally camera lenses and I do so to make them more tough and durable. Pictured above is the Panasonic Lumix 100-300 and the Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm Nocticron!
I wouldn’t advise this if you are planning on re-selling your gear. However, I’m pretty invested into the Micro Four Thirds format since I sold most my Nikon DSLR gear in 2008 to make this major switch to M/43 and since then, I have never looked back.
The only reservation I had about my mirrorless gear is the fact that some of my lenses felt pretty plasticky including the cheap lens hoods that came with some primes. After thinking long and hard about it, I felt like things should have some extra protection implemented. So I took the liberty of painting my lenses in rubberized undercoating to toughen them up a bit and it really works like a charm! These two lenses aren’t the first to get this sort of treatment.
One of my favorite lenses to be released by Panasonic was the 42.5mm Nocticron which is built solidlyand I used it on a 14,500 mile photography journey around the Desert Southwest last April and May. What I didn’t like about the Nocticron though was the oversized metal lens hood which seemed to scuff up the outer edge of the Nocticron barrel. I ended up retiring this hood and buying a generic 67mm lenshood that I could screw onto the UV filter up front making it look much more stealthy. I then painted the lens including the outer barrel as you can see above.
Not all paint coatings and rubberized undercoatings are created equal. Some rubberized undercoatings are downright CRAP and you should avoid the cheap brands at the local Autozone or else you run the risk of destroying your lens. I’ve had quite a few years of trying this and experimenting and the best recommendation that I can give is to use Evercoat Automotive Premium Rubberized Undercoating for a real heavy duty job. This is by far the toughest paint for protecting expensive lenses if you want to go down this route and give it a try. This may sound utterly insane, but if I owned the Leica Noctilux, I might be tempted to try this method on one of those!
The end result is this; It will also make cheaper plastic lenses feel much more durable and weather resistant. It seems to help my equipment hold up much better under heavier usage and stay new longer.
All I used was electrical black tape to cover up areas that I didn’t want exposed to rubberized undercoating and it takes about an hour to dry and 24 hours to completely set before the smell starts to fade after the paint job is completed. Sometime I put a second coat on to be extra safe but be careful not to over-do it! I’ve had this undercoating on some of my equipment going on 5 years now and it’s still looking new. I just like it because it makes me feel like I have something nobody else has ever really tried and I thought maybe this would be of interest to you. I’ve had people asking me to post something about this, so here you go.
So the image above was captured just before sundown in Joshua Tree National Park with a Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm Super-Telephoto lens! One thing I don’t mention to people very often is that this is one my most often used Micro Four Thirds lenses as it is completely indispensable in my workflow as a landscape photographer and cannot recommend it enough. It’s very difficult to work with though and you have to have some patience because it’s easy to get motion blur due to camera shake or the photographer not holding still enough. This lens is now a veteran in my kit because some of my best portfolio images came from it. Yes, this lens is highly recommended for an M/43 landscape photographer and this is what I utilize it for 99% of the time.
Other than that – this is the third image that I’ve posted from my Smugmug site in the flow of utilizing SM embedded images from back up rather than resize and re-upload here to WordPress. It seems to have streamlined my blogging work somewhat as I try and form the habit of daily posting to the photoblog. I’ll try to give insight as a photographer, whenever I can.
So I’m very resistant and reluctant when it comes to change, but once I shift it’s usually because of a major convenience and benefit. Usually I’m very hard to please especially when trying to trust someone like a company. I’ve been with Smugmug for an easy five-years now, and I’m about to invest in their company by relying on them as my primary backup storage for images both on my blog and elsewhere and they are also going to become my primary business solution. They have proven themselves with the test of time and have been stable for the most part. Not only am I going to host my images primarily with them for my photoblog, but also with my printing needs as a professional photographer. I also LOVE how their resized images display on my WordPress blog but I love their tools to protect my images.
Also any links to Smugmug on this site and through this post will net an automatic 20% to anyone who joins me on there, that is, if you are a photographer looking for awesome solution. I searched high and low for a company that could beat Smugmug but that hunt turned out to be futile because the dozens of companies trying to beat Smugmug just cannot match up to what they are offering me as an Intagrammer, and a Photoblogger. As much as I am a photographer, the web has made me who I am and whether I care to admit it or not. Smugmug has played a very helpful and useful role in that evolution…
Old steamrollers like this stretch clear back into Cedar City's recent past and this particular one was relocated to Frontier Heritage State Park in Cedar and somewhat restored with a paint job but I loved it most in its original rusted glory when it was in its natural environment. I guess this is why I like to document things before they are changed.
This is beauty in the Sonora Desert in Tucson Arizona; a trunk of a deal Saguaro Cactus. These ageless plants tend to be majestic even in death. It is said that it takes up to 75 years before a Saguaro Cactus can grow it’s first arm. I shot this image with the Panasonic GH2 and the Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm Super-Telephoto lens. All my images are captured using the Micro Four Thirds format which I love and have been investing in since 2008. I’m not limited to any brand or system but this format has served me well both in size, and functionality. Also, I’ve been posting regularly to this blog now and will continue to do so!
The Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye really works well with my creativity as a photographer. I slapped this on my Olympus OMD EM5 while traveling along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi!
This picture was captured within moments of a coffee cup sliding off a counter by itself in the kitchen of the same house. It was an electrifying moment when something seemed to be looking back at me from the television set. The act of taking a photo had triggered this paranormal moment. My intuition had picked up the same energy out on the highway as I was leaving Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, and it drew me to this abandoned house on the roadside where everything seemed to still be in its place, and untouched. Strangely enough, vandals had left it alone. The entire house was surrounded by an old custom-made rock wall of large chunks of petrified wood; it was beautiful. As I carefully explored the abandoned home which I entered from the back side, I noticed that all the furniture was still there. Dishes and canned foods in kitchen cupboards. Clothing was folded nicely in drawers in one bedroom, and beds were perfectly made. It was like the family that had lived here 40 years before had just left without saying a word and never bothering to take anything with them.
The energy had enticed me to stop and encouraged me to enter the home. The whole time I was there, I could feel the strong tingle of this electrifying presence in the home and it seemed like it was more than just a ghost or a friendly spirit. It was when I returned to the television set, that the electrical sensation grew to feeling like static on the surface of my skin. As I was pulling the camera up to my eye to compose the photo of the TV, it felt like this entity was staring back at me from the television and I could see it in my mind’s eye. I could look back at myself through the eyes of the phantom and both of us were in-sync with each other.
I still think of the red coffee cup sliding off the counter and how that experience would unnerve most visitors but I don’t seem to fear the Unknown. In fact, I think it has been largely misrepresented by the movie and film industry with the horror genre. None of this really spooks me. In fact, it is this reality that turned me into photographer. Photography helped me to become far more sensitive to my surroundings and environment and I see more than just the light!
The sliding of the red coffee mug happened when I went to press the shutter on my camera and it was during the firing of the shutter that the cup slid off the counter and broke onto the floor, all by itself. You only have my eyewitness account to go on and I did not photograph the red cup because I don’t care if people believe me or not. I know what I experienced and that is all that counts because it was real.
As I walked into the kitchen, I saw the red mug broken on the floor in the late afternoon light of the February sun and I will never forget that day or that mysterious house. It’s these experiences that enhance my photos and it’s a peculiar intuition that leads me down these definitive paths as a documentarian. I adhere to the quiet whispers and voices that tell me about what happened long ago. Whatever was in that home did not feel human but it wasn’t dark or evil. It is just unknown to science…