I love hearing about photo junkies spending thousands of dollars on the greatest and latest cameras knowing for a fact that having the latest-greatest fancy-pants camera will STILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER. Remember this and save thousands of dollars! That being said, if you are going to invest thousands of dollars spend it on glass (camera lenses) because good glass is still key to higher quality, and not necessarily the newest cameras along with their marketing hype. Cameras depreciate faster than lenses and the latter hold their value longer. I’ve been with Micro Four Thirds for 8 years now. That’s a pretty good track record. Why do I recommend this format? Because it’s dirt cheap, affordable, excellent image quality, and the fact that it works well, being mirror-less technology. In the end, It’s going to be the practice and passion that you put into composing images that will help you grow to become a better photographer. Remember that and avoid the marketing hype. I purchase old discontinued camera bodies at steeply discounted rates and invest the money in glass instead. It’s been a while since I’ve purchased gear and I’m happy with my choices. Practice makes better photos!
I post this because the wilderness is not pristine. Such a concept is foreign to humans and is a false-construct because we are a natural part of the landscape. When used in reference to the new world, it almost makes it sound like nobody was here before Columbus. Yes, I do believe in protecting and defending beauty as long as we come at it from a different angle. In the end, I think we all want clean air and water but humans are natural part of this earth.
This shot was captured on the outskirts of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert near sunset using a Sigma Foveon sensor. I was a real strong supporter of this technology but it doesn’t seem so practical these days, anymore…
This month of September marks a little over One Year and a month since I located my stolen Nikon V3 with an 18.5mm Nikkor lens in a pawn shop in Cedar City, Utah. It was turned over to the city police in August of 2014. Since then, It’s been in police evidence for longer than it remained stolen from me which is pretty aggravating. I’ve called the police multiple times and even met up with a few officers in their physical offices but the bureaucracy failed miserably to return my stolen photo gear.
Since then, I have given up ever hoping to get my gear back. Even when your valuables are stolen it doesn’t do any good if the police secure them because there’s a good chance you’ll never see them again. By the time that you do, your gear will be so outdated it will be a waste-of-time anyway. I just wanted to go on the record about this for the journal.
The image above was one of the last photos I captured with the Nikon v3 which I hadn’t even owned for longer than two weeks before it was ripped off in a vehicle burglary. The robber broke into my Jeep while I was watching the Hobbit movie at the theater. I learned a lot that day.
This image is of Alisa Meshkova – from one of my earliest model shoots. I titled it because of the light coming into the basement of this abandoned house through a window. The wind was blowing pretty hard and is what lifted her hair. I’ve always been inspired by the UFO Phenomenon and so I titled the image accordingly. Alisa attends Southern Utah University and is very intuitive as a model. She knew how to pose so I could focus on taking images.
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…