I haven’t forgotten

I will be periodically throwing up post but with high hopes to get this going on a regular basis.  I have renamed the blog due to the fact that I have come to realize that I’m not the only one who had chosen “Behind The Lens” as a blog name (the other person was first”.  My “plan” is to have one post a week.  I have come to realize that on my own…three post a week was too much and so I’m hoping that this will be more manageable.

So eventually what this should become is each week is a different them. First week will be photography, painting or sculpting.  Second week the written word such as poetry and short stories.  The third week will be for the music lovers and the fourth? Well, that will be about the world of indie filmmaking and everyone that is involved in it whether they are behind the camera or in front of the camera.

Yours truly,

Robert

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Indie Filmmaker…Patrick Mandeville

Here are some links of Patrick Mandeville’s works.  Enjoy and keep a watch out for this brilliant up and coming director!

My Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/channels/patrickmandeville

Another piece to the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 puzzle

Monday I was able to get out and do some more test shots with the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000.  This time I shot in jpeg so I could test out the camera’s special effects and styles.  I promised to have some more images from an outing at Sands Point Preserve (shot by my wife GraceAnn with the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000) and you will get that at the end of this first grouping of photos.  Now let me share some images of Times Square here in New York City.  Next to each image will be what special effect setting was used.

P1000587Distinct Scenery effect

P1000588Bright Blue Sky effect

P1000589Glistening Water

P1000590Glittering Illuminations

P1000591Soft Image of a Flower

P1000592Appetizing Food

P1000593Cute Dessert

P1000594Monochrome

P1000596High Key

P1000597Low Key

P1000598Sepia

P1000600Dynamic Monochrome

P1000601Rough Monochrome

P1000602 Silky MonochromeP1000603 Impressive ArtP1000604 High DynamicP1000605 Cross ProcessP1000606 Toy EffectP1000607 Toy PopP1000608 Bleach EffectP1000609 Miniature EffectP1000610 Soft FocusP1000611 FantasyP1000612 Star Filter P1000613Sunshine (this effect is supposed to give the effect of shooting towards the sun without actually doing so).

P1000631still grab from 4k video

A few words about these test shots that I feel I need to tell you about.  First thing is that some of the creative settings (and maybe all but not sure yet) do not move with the RAW file for processing in editing software (not even the one that comes with the camera).  Supposedly you can shoot the effects in RAW and then change them to jpeg in camera and it will retain the effect used.  I haven’t tried that yet but I do know that my wife shot in RAW while on the beach using the Star Filter effect and when I transferred it over to an external hard drive for editing, the effect never came over.  In editing the image looked like any other image and converting it to a jpeg made no difference.

Also, on top of the camera, there is a dial and on the dial you have two (2) settings where you can find these effects.  Both have monochrome settings and settings that allow you to produce the “star like” effect that one might want from reflective surfaces.  In fact there are a total of three such settings.  A bit of an over kill here.  There are some other settings I have not tried out yet.  There are a series of effects for shooting portraits along with a few for night scenes and a few others not worth mentioning because I will not try those out.  The last photo is pretty impressive due to the fact that it came from the camera’s 4k video (now that is a big plus).

That is it for now.  Below you will find more images shot with the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 from the Sands Point Preserve.  Don’t forget!  No post for next week as I’ll be on vacation.

Warmly ~ R

P1000283 P1000208 P1000209 P1000233 P1000242 P1000283 P1000297 P1000336 P1000450 P1000513 P1000555 P1000559

Sands Point Preserve – The Guggenheim Estate

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A castle on Long Island and just a short drive from Manhattan?  Really?

First let me say that for me to personally anoint this place as a “photographers paradise” will require another visit.  This time during late spring or early summer when the leaves are back, flowers are in bloom and birds are hanging around.  Despite the lack of wildlife (at least a variety of birds other than the common house sparrow and the seagulls on the beach) it was still a good start due to being on a cliff that overlooks Hempstead Bay.  Not only do you have the elevated view but a path that takes you down to the rocky beach too.

DSC_4508 a view of the castle from one of the many walking trails.

DSC_4464one point on the beach.

We didn’t get a chance to check out the inside of the homes here but we did walk all of the trails.  They have a man made pound that was iced over (really didn’t feel this was worth taking a photo of) and an abandoned building near the pond on the other side of a walking bridge.

DSC_4515abandoned building near pond

On one of the many trails you will also come across another bridge that is photo worthy.

DSC_4506another bridge on a walking path.

Earlier I said that this was a good start.  Maybe I should have said a nice start instead.  It’s a beautiful estate but not quite what I was hoping for (I’m pretty demanding in my expectations as a photographer though) but I can say that this place is great for non-photographers.  The trails are great.  One the trails is a fitness trail with workout station at different points.  The other thing that makes this place great is the fact that they allow you to bring your dog (granted it must be kept on a leash at all times).  Whether you are on the trails or the beach you are able to bring your dog along.

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It’s $10 dollars per car load to get in (which is great if you car pool and are not alone) and plenty of picnic tables to enjoy your lunch outdoors.  Our day here was met with very little foot traffic which makes for a great outing.  Whether this is due to the time of year or not I don’t know but I will have that answer soon once it warms up.  I also have to point out that getting here had to be one of the easiest drives that we have done on Long Island.

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I look forward in bringing more to you on Sands Point Preserve once it warms up but until then get ready for Friday’s blog.  I will be continuing my discussion on the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 with more images of Sands Point Preserve.

Best ~ R.

Long Exposure Magic

DSC_4405 ISO 100mm f/16 @ 126.0 SEC ND filter 3.0 (10 stops) and CL Polarizer.

Long exposure photography can create magical looking images.  As with everything thing else in photography there is a good mixture of technical knowledge needed as well as creative vision to conceptualize what it is you are wanting to create.  The technical side to this involves not only knowing what your camera is capable of from the inside but he extra equipment that will be needed.

I’m sure you can guess that a tripod, of course, is a must (or something solid that doesn’t move to set the camera on).  Two other things you’ll want to have (if you don’t already) is a remote shutter release and a Neutral Density filter.  The filter is where things can get confusing and tricky because they make some many different grades of it.  They range from 0.1 (.3 stop of light reduction) to 4.8 (16 stops of light reduction).  The images that I am sharing today you’ll easily be able to tale which ones were done with a ND filter and the ones that were only with a polarizer filter.

P1000156ISO 125, f/3.6 @ 1/1600th sec no filter

DSC_4391ISO 100, f/14 @ 70.0 sec, ND filter #3 and CL Polarizer

How do you feel when you look at the photo of the New York City skyline shot at 1/1600th sec compared to the one shot at 70 sec (70 seconds)?  Gives the second photo more of a “painting” feel without the need for photoshop (or any other software editing program).  With that being said you will still need to do a little work in post when it comes to shooting long exposures due to noise.  Of course you can set your camera up to reduce the noise in camera, it’s just something that I do not prefer myself.  I like to have complete control of my final output.  You’ll just have to test how well your camera processes it internally and see if you like the results.

P1000184ISO 125, f/8 @ 1/200th sec no filter.

DSC_4407ISO 100, f/18 @ 122 sec, ND filter #3 and CL Polarizer.

On the next two pictures what I want to point out is the reflection of the lighthouse.  Even though I cut this image short, you’ll notice how the reflection of the lighthouse on the water is barely recognizable but in the second photo it is more defined due to the smoothing out of the water.  There are many ways that shooting with long exposure (and having the right tools) can help create more interesting photos. Let’s get back to that tripod for a second because this is very important due the length of exposures you will often be working with.  Use either a heavy duty tripod (something weighty) or find a way to hang your camera bag off of the tripod to give it more weight for sturdiness.  This will make the difference in everything in the frame that is stationary and should be in focus stays in focus.  The day that I shot these photos (shooting along the walk of Roosevelt Island towards New York City skyline) it was quite breezy and sometimes down right gusty.  Thankfully my tripod has a hook on the bottom of the center column and was able to hang my bag on it.  That is one of the problems with shooting up here during winter time and that it is usually breezy or windy.

DSC_4397ISO 100, f/18 @ 179.0 sec, ND filter #3 and CL Polarizer.

What are some of the different ways to use long exposure photography?  As I’ve demonstrated here you can use it to smooth out moving water in waterscapes but you can use it for light painting, moving car streaks, creating abstracts, star streaks and removing people (or other moving objects) from your scene without the need to be a photo editing guru.  I will be making this particular subject a three part series with one being a mixture of light painting, nighttime car streaks and creative abstracts.

Everything about photography requires getting out there and shooting…a lot.  It takes practice and patience when you are really trying to hone your craft and become more and more of an artist.  Most of my waterscapes are shot in daylight after the sun has come up and before it begins to set.  The amount of sunlight you have working against you (and how much of the smooth “painting” effect you want) will depend on what ND filter you will use.  As you noticed, I also used a CL  (circular) Polarizer filter along with a ND filter.  I do this because polarizers are great for waterscapes plus it also added an extra degree of light cut-off.  See, unless you were shooting a night scene, you will have to use a ND filter to be able to get this effect.  With out one you’ll never be able to slow down your camera’s shutter (or use the “bulb” function) enough without blowing out (white out of image) the photo.  Remember when I mentioned that ND filters come in different degrees of light cut-off?  That’s because you lighting may dictate that you need a 0.3 (rather than 3.0) to get the effect.  Photographers who specialize in this type of photography will have a set of ND filters.  If you buy a set or you get a few different ND filters you’ll then have the option of even stacking them together to allow for even longer exposure.  I have even seen someone use them at night to shoot the stars.  I mentioned the “bulb” feature on your camera half way of this paragraph and if you are not sure what that is…no worries.  It’s simply a setting to be used with a remote release that allows you to hold the shutter open for how ever long you want.  Most cameras will only allow for the shutter to stay open for a certain amount of time on it’s on but gives this option for you as the photographer to decide how long the shutter needs to stay open.

Every shot that I shared with you showing the effect of long exposures were done on the “bulb” mode (and I ALWAYS use a remote release for this).  The exposures were too long for the camera on it’s own.  You’ll just have (again) practice.  Tiffen offers a kit which gives you a set of 3 filters and is a pretty good set to start with and as I mentioned you can stack the filters when needed.  Another type of ND filter that is out there that you’ll no doubt be tempted to get is the variable ND filter.  This filter is two filter together with one of them able to rotate.  As you turn the front element the filter lightens and darkens gradually.  This is great up until you get to the darker points of its rotation.  Once you get to that point it will start to shift colors producing unpleasant photos (this is from my own experience for what I have used and what I’ve read about other users of other manufacturers).  My opinion is to stick with individual filters.  Before you buy a filter (or filters) please read the user reviews.  The last thing you want to do is buy a filter and end up not happy with it’s clarity results.

Check out Wednesday’s post.  I will be talking about the trip we took out to Sands Point Preserve with some photos we took and give you my opinion on how this rates for a “photographers paradise”.  I will be taking time off after this Friday for a much needed vacation to go and visit family and friends that I haven’t seen in 2 years.  So the following week there will be no blogging from from me but will be revamping with some exciting things when I start back up (especially when it warms up!).

Best ~ R

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