Photoblogging Using Smugmug!

I’ve been posting and uploading ALL of my images to Smugmug – And using the service to host all my images for  Talking Tree Photo and my photoblog. For anyone who follows my work eion social media or through the blog; Smugmug offers a 20% discount to new customers by clicking HERE and any of the links in this post.

I just applied for their affiliate program and do all my printing and hosting via Smugmug on. It’s a fact that it’s unlimited space for photographers who have a lot of images to upload.

I have done a bulk of research in comparing some of the other photography companies that compete with Smugmug and once tried Zenfolio but returned to SM because the service still feels the most intuitive and hard to beat! I’ve been with them since 2009 and that is a long streak in the age of the internet and social media. Smugmug offers professional printing and through partnerships with White House Photo and Bay Photo printing services which are two of the most professional and reliable fine art printing companies around. There are also other cheaper printing options offered through the service.

This is just my professional opinion of Smugmug and for people wishing to implement a blog, I recommend installing WordPress separately from Smugmug since they do not offer a blog as a feature. If they did, I would welcome it. For image hosting, I cannot think of a better service to recommend!? Click on the “Smugmug Pro” banner below to get that 20% off your subscription when joining the family.Smugmug Pro

Porst MC Color Reflex 55mm F1.2 Review – Part One

Early Copy of the Porst 55mm F1.2 in Pentax K-Mount

I’m posting this short review which will continue in future posts in my hope to liberate this beautiful lens against those who don’t know how to use it and claim that it’s not sharp wide-open. All the photos in this were shot between F1.2 through to F2.8. The only time I stopped down during my photoshoot was when it was too bright outside to shoot wide-open and I had no neutral density filter. Even landscapes were captured wide-open when possible.

The reason I chose this lens over the insanely expensive Tomioka-made 55mm F1.2 is because the price for the Porst is around $250-350 dollars on eBay. The Tomioka design is a classic one that has developed a cult following on various forums throughout the internet where dedicated photographers that collect vintage lenses congregate. Several threads talk about the legendary bokeh of the Tomioka glass. Tomioka itself was a Japanese company that was purchased by Yashica (back in the day) and it’s the source where many Yashinon branded lenses were made. In the old days Tomioka used to make these classic 55mm F1.2 lens for several manuafacturers and re-badged them for Porst, Cosina, Ricoh, Chinon, Vivitar, Revuenon and finally Yashica while also being branded with Tomioka in the early models. They are all similar in design with different multicoated variations, some of which were manufactured by Cosina as well. It is said that the Porst versions were Cosina-made. I have a Revuenon MC 55mm F1.2 copy which I believe is Tomioka glass but Cosina assembled that I will also be reviewing soon when time allows.

Following Images Shot on Sony Alpha A7R – Full Frame

ThePorst 55mm F1.2 is very adequate and capable of excellent image quality wide-open. You can get enough sharpness that it makes very artsy images when wide-open. As I’ve read through several threads on MFLenses.com, FredMiranda.com, and PentaxForums.com; posters seem to point out that the Porst is inferior or less sharp wide-open, milky, and hard to nail focus at F1.2 when compared to the Tomioka derived lenses. Maybe they just don’t know how to use the lens or haven’t practiced enough? I’m perplexed by those comments because the Porst is amazing! I have a Revuenon MC 55mm F1.2 lens as well and it doesn’t focus as close as the Porst copy that this review is covering. 

I took a leap of faith with the Porst when I got it. While it can be somewhat “milky” and soft on sunny days, I don’t think that shooting in those conditions is suitable with this lens. It is more suited for diffused light. If you look for stormy days or enter a shady century-old homestead where you get out of direct sun light;  this is where the lens really pops! The bokeh is astounding to me, emotive, and wildly different than many of the postmodern digital lenses that I have shot.

I go through these abandoned places all over the American Southwest and a lens like the Porst is able to help me achieve the goal of creating moody and dramatic images that draw a feeling of time and place. I’m showing LOVE to these places using the vintage Porst glass and it shows through the images that I’m trying to capture and document.

I don’t understand why anyone could bad mouth and bash this beautiful piece of glass? It is so full of character and the background blur is simply breath-taking. Very few lenses get me excited like this. There are a few others that I want to acquire that seem to equal the Porst but also very different. One lens with it’s own dimension is the Canon 50mm F0.95 “dream lens” which runs into the thousands of dollars on eBay!

I burned a lot of time researching thousands of images by various photographers using different vintage lenses and the Canon is one choice that stands out and really impresses me. I particularly loved this review by Paul Marbrook.

Some photographers will not understand my fascination with these super fast lenses but I literally obsess over beautiful bokeh and the types of vintage glass that create visual impressionism with the right kind distortion or blur. Most of these lenses are not totally super sharp wide-open but in truth, sharpness is seriously overrated. There are many variables for a photographer that go into what I consider to be the near perfect lens; or perfect artistic lens.

I even shot this high desert landscape in Southern Utah – wide open with the Porst. Yeah, I’m breaking the rules of landscape photography when messing with the DOF.

It was a total rainy day on the porch of this deserted house in the ghost town of Lund, Utah.

Another shot in an abandoned house just down the road from the previous one. Rain was falling and coming through the roof of this home. I can feel the memories of these ruins. Some dreams have been forgotten but the people who once loved these homes still seem to linger?

Oftentimes when exploring the eroding ruins of our Western Culture, I am reminded that our time on this planet is short.  As a documentarian, I’m capturing these moments as they decay in realtime. The desert is rotting these places and the constant winds are tearing them apart slowly. Every time I revisit some of these houses, they’ve changed so much. Sometimes vandals hit these places with so much disrespect it totally breaks my heart as a photographer. It’s often college or high school students who have no respect for the history. So these days, I no longer share locations out of fear that the young punks will find and destroy what beauty is left. Unfortunately it’s becoming too late for the ghost town of Lund, Utah, an old rail-road pitstop that was bypassed in 1969 by the construction of I-15.

When I was in the hallway of this old trailer, I felt a strange presence in the home that created a tingling sensation which told me I wasn’t alone. Something was still lingering in this place and I had to capture the mood when I focused on this curtain with flowers… I shot it wide-open at F1.2.

Images Below Shot on Olympus OMD EM5 – Cropped Sensor

Captured this rope hanging in an old barn in Milford, Utah.

Inside a deserted copper smelter west of Milford, Utah.

Rusty handle on an old homestead not far from the ghost town of Frisco, Utah.

This rusty nail is a favorite example of what I can accomplish with the abrupt extreme falloff in the (DOF) that I was able to get using the Porst. This is totally my “dream lens” at the moment while on a starving college student/artist budget, whois also trying to organize a UFO Fest in Utah.

Conclusion to This – Part One

I’m not totally savvy on writing reviews, in fact, I just wanted to share my thoughts on this beautiful lens. Practice will make perfect!  Even if the Porst is SLIGHTLY softer than some of the other legendary F1.2 bokeh kings why let that stop you from cashing in with this amazing piece-of-glass? I would even argue that this lens is in a league of it’s own. On many occasions, I found the “bokeh” the Porst 55mm F1.2 could  produce was far more to my liking than many other fast lenses; even those considered to be sharper by the forum posters. Don’t let peoples opinions stop you from considering the Porst. It’s certainly cheaper than the ridiculously expensive Tomiokas which only use a single coating on the lens. The Porst is multicoated! You really can’t go wrong with it if you have experience and skills! One can can learn about the strong points of the Porst, and the weak spots. I will post more about the Porst as I develop more compositions with it.

I also signed up for the eBay affiliate program to help me develop Talking Tree Photo and write more about the gear that I love. If you are interested in the Porst, just visit the link below and see what’s on the Bay. It will help me if you make a purchase. Please leave your thoughts in the comments if this article inspired you?

Porst MC Color Reflex 55mm F1.2 on eBay

Scenic Cow Pies of the Mohave Desert

Here are some interesting photos from the Mohave Desert in #SouthernNevada on the East side of Las Vegas and North of Mesquite Nevada near the Beaver Dam Wilderness and the Virgin River Gorge.

Devonshire Cows do well in the #Mohave and they will eat just about anything that is edible. On the East Coast it only takes an acre to sustain one cow. Out in desert this way it requires about 100 acres per cow so ranches out West have to be BIG.

More evidence on the dry parched Earth.

These are Joshua Trees with the Arizona Strip off in the background with snow on the peaks.

Joshua Tress are truly majestic and rare in the world but deck the Mohave/Mojave like sentinels in their own Kingdom. The #JoshuaTree is the crown jewel of the Mojave while the Saguaro dominates the Sonoran Desert. Both deserts lay next to each other covering huge swaths of Arizona, California, and small areas in Utah and Nevada. All images captured on my Sony Alpha #A7R.

Instagram: February 21, 2017 at 05:30AM

My life as a UFO Fest Photographer! 😉 Thank you to #OpenMindeTV for allowing me the privilege to photograph the #InternationalUFOCongress which ended yesterday – I’ll be down in #Ajo, #Arizona near the Mexican border for the next few days photographing the #SonoranDesert. It’s amazing that the townspeople in Ajo, AZ, still remember me after two years and follow this Instagram. My face is super recognizable they say. It feels good to be back down this way. Also, I’m planning on legally changing my name to #NathanArizona so stay tuned. My greatest artistic influence is Steven Spielberg and the Coen Brothers! ?#alien #filmmaking #zeta #ufology #ufofest #utahufofest #ufocongress #fountainhills #phoenix #greys #aliens #area51 #ufo ~ via Instagram: ift.tt/2kUbrI6

Instagram: February 07, 2017 at 07:35AM

#RuralDecay in #Chimayo, #NewMexico: I’m on the radio this morning with KSUB discussing Aliens and UFOs with Tim on Southern Utah’s Big Picture Show from 7-9AM! #adobe #pueblo #turquoise #paint #blue #green #rust #red #mud #redearth #decay ~ via Instagram: ift.tt/2jYvUjr

Instagram: January 21, 2017 at 10:44AM

Taking a #Selfie in the #mirror of this #deserted house; Being #Single has its perks such as my freedom to travel and be footloose on the minimal. I don’t know too many girls that would love to travel and do photography!? My brother and I are growing our stone company at @ettrading and I’m gearing up to take 4.5 ton of #Alabaster stone over to #NewMexico this coming Tuesday! I’ll have to stop by a few abandoned trailers on the way! ??? ~ via Instagram: ift.tt/2jBdstu

Instagram: January 19, 2017 at 12:30PM

With each passing day the #dream fades further in this old abandoned double wide trailer in the highlands of #NewMexico – the sun lit window paint the wall with light and their footprint will vanish with time! ~ I’m no longer playing the popularity game on Instagram; I’m only posting my art from my heart and what speaks to me intuitively. I can care less if people unfollow me or go elsewhere because it’s about getting back to the authenticity of the photography and the vision during those rare moments when I hit the open road. #abandoned #deserted #light #sunshine #window #doorway #hallway #grime #trailer #introspection ~ via Instagram: ift.tt/2jD9wLh

Instagram: January 17, 2017 at 01:44PM

Dear Friends as a photographer I am looking for some paid gigs and can also help you build an instagram account. I rarely advertise my services but I can offer reasonable pricing for Instagram marketing especially artists and creatives. If some of you need help I’m willing to step up to the plate and get you rolling! Direct Message me if you are seriously interested in either of these services. I also love doing local shoots where I can produce art at a level that the client trusts my judgement and experience! ~ via Instagram: ift.tt/2k25Ovc

The Desert is an Unknown Place

That is the truth that I believe in; one where the status quo has no control over your personal sovereignty and you begin to go back to the roots of our non-reality. The desert is one such place of mystery, full of the Unknown. I’ve learned this over the last decade and a half while roaming canyon labyrinths and mountain ranges. What I have witnessed adds a lot of meaning to this short life of mine. We rural desert dwellers see and hear a lot more than those who get entrapped and surrounded by dense civilization. Out there on the outskirts of the fringe you begin to see what’s truly shrouded while being accompanied by structures and ruins from the distant past that slowly wrought and crumble to the harsh desert elements.