Here’s an image I wanted to include in my Italian portfolio but I gave up after trying multiple edits. This is just me being fussy but I have a hard time with the mottled skin texture on her legs not jiving with her face, as well as the overall weird color cast (probably time of day, color of skylights, weird reflections from the floor… I’ve gone up and down with controls and specific colors but I’ve never found a pleasing balance.) Still I could apply brute force and “paint” her legs and everything else for that matter but then I ask myself whether it’s worth the time? It isn’t.
The Zeiss 35/1.4 Milvus is superb, the best 35mm lens ever, but manual focusing for street photography was not its forte. The focus throw is an entire revolution and it’s heavy (2.5#). Rapidly swinging the camera to sneak a grab shot rarely works, even @ 1/250th. Almost….
Doing the classic Italian tour (and we were on a tour) you can’t help but spend a lot of time in dark churches and museums. Lighting is marginal and this image needs judicious rather than blanket noise reduction. But then I ask myself why? It’s interesting but not that much so. As for artwork, I did snap a few of details I liked but if I was really a fan I’d buy a book with quality reproductions… there is no way my handheld ISO 6400 images are ever going to compare.
I’ll take the tourist photos like everyone else: the beautiful but seen-before villas along the Venice canal, the dimly lit statues and paintings, walking around the colosseum in very harsh sun. Came home with 1200 photos. It took a couple of days to delete all the worst ones. Then I spent a minute or two (per image) editing the rest, putting 322 total on Flickr to share with family (not you. I keep a barrier up.) Then I went back and further edited another 40-50 and finally picked those that you currently see on the home page. Check back in a year or ten and perhaps I’ll have found a few new ones that resonate but it’s more likely I’ll have deleted several instead.
The idea is that you make so many good photos that you can afford to delete a few nice ones for the greater good. I want to be so admirably ruthless in all ways! (Watch your back!)
Finally, to explain better, this was a trip meant to educate and benefit our teenage daughter. We’re fortunate to be able to do this and we booked a quality (expensive) group tour and went on auto-pilot. Peer pressure forced me to “do it all” even though I would have preferred a Noon start followed by siesta then wine. Instead we walked 5-7 miles per day which was great PT for my leg. (I do not recommend going in Summer but that’s the school vacation schedule’s fault, not Italy’s.) All in all we saw far more than most tourists and had a memorable, satisfying time.
That said I much prefer staying in one place for a week or two and quietly exploring around base camp. I’ve done that in Tuscany and would love to do it again, albeit next time I will bring a small step ladder as almost every landscape photo would benefit from a slightly higher perspective. I’d also like to spend serious photographic time in the Dolomites as I think they are the prettiest mountain range. For a pure vacation I’d like to try the coast (although it looks crowded). And even though I am most of Sicilian heritage (with Greek DNA) I prefer the North and want to avoid the cities.
(Bravo Matteo Salvini! Every young Italian I spoke to was supportive of the Right. All of the busy tourist areas were cleansed of migrants other than a few gypsies. It’s wonderful to see Europe finally develop some backbone as Nationalists triumph.)
I finally got to do the sort of road trip I love, leaving at 6am and driving four hours to State College, PA where I shot with Larissa, turned around and made it back, downloading CF cards and looking at results until 4am. Lots of Coffee, candy, cigarettes (2!) and podcasts (The Right Stuff, Third Rail) and favorite oldies (Pixies, Sonic Youth, Devo, PJ Harvey, Fugazi, Johnny Cash, Hold Steady, Tool, etc.) Shot too many pictures and have been batting them around, these are the five out of 1000 that I like best. For now.
The underwater housing worked fine with the 50/1.8G but the water was so opaque that I couldn’t photograph anything from underneath. Luckily it rained and I swam with the rig, I never could have done the same with a dryland camera no matter how careful I was not to dunk it. She’s wearing a green latex dress in the green greasy water too, it worked really well (seriously I planned for this!) The blue cat suit ran a bit too large for her even though I ordered it to her height, so I don’t like any of the front facing shots. Both pieces were thicker and opaque. For the life of me I don’t understand the sexuality of a tight rubber fetish, it seems really uncomfortable and you smell like an inner tube, a sweaty one at that. However it really photographs nicely and it’s a great option compared to being naked in public… yeah it’s definitely weird but nobody’s calling the cops* over it either.
Anyway I imagine she won’t care for these since they’re harsh and weird but they’re different too, and that’s important to me. I took plenty of ones she will like and my editing will continue ;-p She’s a great model, I’m lucky she’ll shoot with the likes of me.
Probably holding onto the underwater housing but not adding accessories. In four outings it now has battle scars ~ the lens port is Plexiglass after all ~ so the resale is lousy and it is pretty cool to able to take your camera out in the worst conditions. Switching to the 50/1.8G works well for above water stuff and portraits, I think I’d have to get a domed port ($500) to use with my 20/1.8G if I actually did any Caribbean-type snorkeling.
*I get police visits every few photo shoots, even when I shoot landscapes.
I’ve been shooting the centers out of targets with this, it is the best pistol I’ve ever shot, perfectly fitted and it hits where I point it. Made by Atlas Gunworks, it’s a custom hand-fitted 9mm 2011 with all the best parts, costs about $4200 (and it’s worth it!)
Photographing guns like this is hard, there is oil present and you need to move it around. For example there is an oil stain towards the base of the Aluminum grips that I have no idea how to mitigate… still looks great in real life but an evenly lit photo reveals it. I’m far too lazy so I’ll just pop snaps with my phone but I know that truly good gun photography is right up there with the most difficult still life subjects (jewelry, booze, watches, etc.)
Heading back to the old country to show our daughter her heritage (she’s ~very~ “Eastern” Italian) before it’s ruined by degenerate Muslim-Africans. Next Summer we’re visiting the home of my wife’s ancestors in Scandinavia where I’m interested in seeing real Democratic Socialism in action as well as the conflict with the rapist invaders. Last year we toured China (see the pattern?)… and in 2020 we’ll dutifully have to visit institutes of organized crime also known as colleges (I’m recalcitrant about her going to school, I rather she work and gain life experience. If she decides she needs a professional certification then college will be a breeze or otherwise she’ll have generous self-financing for her start-up. And if she rather study poetry? She can buy oh so many books for the cost of a single term’s tuition.) In any event she graduates in 2021, my wife should retire within a few years and our lives will change.
I’m quietly window shopping for a customized Sprinter van and studying maps of Idaho and Montana with idle speculation on suppressors and drum magazines in the land of the free. But truth be told I’d have another kid if I could, all three of my children have been the best thing I’ve done.
This trip I’m attempting to travel with just a tiny F-Stop sling with a single Nikon D810 with the heavy Zeiss 35/1.4 Milvus. Four batteries and charger, spare cards, RRS tabletop tripod, blower bulb and wipes. I put off getting a D850, trying to hold off at least until after the Nikon mirrorless launch.
I did some A:B testing between the 35/1.4 Zeiss Milvus and Nikon 35/1.8G. The $2200 Zeiss blows the $500 Nikkor away but it weighs 2.5 pounds. I think I’m going to put up with it though, the thought of going to Italy and doing second class photos riles me more.
The 300mm is staying home, I realized that with my propensity for sniping people that I might get myself in trouble with it.