Saturday, April 22, 2017

March for Science

Children line up for the Children's Climate March, which led the Minnesota March for Science at the State Capitol in St. Paul. 

Tens of thousands of people came to the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul to attend the March for Science on Earth Day. Originally about 10,000 people were expected to attend the march and early reports stayed with the 10,000 number. But as the crowd grew, eventually extending from the State Capitol to the St. Paul Cathedral, the 10,000 number seemed low. Ultimately, the March for Science organizers said 50,000 people joined the march. 
Made from the steps of the Capitol looking back towards the St. Paul Cathedral. This is less than 1/2 of the crowd. 

The march was billed as being non-partisan and there were few overt signs of partisanship. But with one political party consistently denying the role of science or fact based decision making, it was clear who marchers were targeting. Despite the presence of an elephantish creation in the march, I don't think there were many Trump voters in the crowd. (It was actually a mastodon.)  
An ingenious mastodon people powered puppet led a group of marchers to the Capitol. 

Nahuatl, or Mexican Aztec, dancers led the march to the Capitol. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Remembering Prince

(I am writing a series of new entries based on our trip back to Minnesota in April and May.)
A woman lights candles at a memorial for Prince near "Paisley Park" in Chanhassen, MN. 

Prince Rodgers Nelson, the iconic singer, and the most famous person to come out of Minneapolis died on April 21, 2016. We went back out to Paisley Park on April 21, 2017, to mark the one year anniversary of his death. 
With the help of a passerby, a woman leaves a note for Prince in the pedestrian tunnel that goes below the highway in front of Paisley Park. Both people traveled to Minneapolis from out of state to participate in Prince memorials. 

The sense of grief was still palpable. The public didn't have access to Paisley Park (admission was limited to ticket holders), so the tunnel leading to his home was turned into a memorial. Some people left memorials on the fence surrounding Paisley Park, but most people gathered in the tunnel. 
A woman takes a picture of flowers on the fence at Paisley Park, next to a carved replica of Prince's most famous guitar. 

In the tunnel, people sign a wall decorated with Prince's logo. 

There were also memorial events at First Ave, the nightclub Prince made famous in his movie "Purpple Rain." What struck me at Paisley Park was how most of the people in the tunnel were from out of town. Maybe Minnesotans skipped Paisley Park and went to the First Ave dance parties but it seemed like almost everyone outside the Paisley Park fence was from somewhere else.

Finally, most of the photos in my archive are available for editorial use or self fulfillment as prints. If you see something you'd like to use or just hang on the wall, click on the "Add to Cart" button and follow the onscreen prompts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Basic Black (and White)

Mourners wait to pay their respects to His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Late King of Thailand, at Wat Phra Kaew. Made with my Pen F, 25mm f1.8 lens (50mm equivalent in full frame terms), ISO 200, f1.8 @ 1/80th. Exposure compensation set to -1 stop because I wanted to keep deep blacks. 

I bought an Olympus Pen F when I was in Singapore last year and reviewed it here in February. It's been my principal camera for most assignments since then. One of the things I mentioned in the review was the lovely black and white JPEGs this camera makes. 
A family in Pom Mahakan. Pen F, 25mm f1.8 lens, ISO 200, f1.8 @ 1/100th. 

I've made more black and white frames in the last two months than I have since converting to all digital more than 15 years ago. Black and white in the digital era is not new. Leica even makes an absurdly expensive Monochrome only rangefinder (though describing any Leica product as "absurdly expensive" is redundant). A quick glance at almost any contest entries will show you that black and white photography is thriving. The thing is though, most of those photos are color photos processed in Lightroom (or Affinity Photo or any other program) and exported in black and white. 
Motorcycle taxis wait for fares on a Bangkok street corner. Pen F, 25mm f1.8 lens, ISO200, f1.8 @ 1/800th.

If I am going to make black and white pictures, I want to make them in black and white, not convert color files to black and white. And the Pen F files, especially using what I've set as my Tri-X simulation mode, generates very nice black and white files.
Feeding pigeons along the Chao Phraya River. Pen F, 25mm f1.8 lens, ISO200, f1.8 @ 1/2500th.

I started with Olympus' basic black and white settings, which had a lot of contrast and a lot of grain, and went from there. I thought the Olympus default files looked like Tri-X pushed to 3200, so I dialed the contrast down a little and the grain down a lot (the default on the grain is High). 

I tried working with grain turned off, but I didn't like that - pictures were too clean (kind of like the BW files from the Canon 5D Mark III bodies I no longer have). I ultimately settled on Low. High was way too grainy for my taste and Medium was bordeline. The Low setting gave me a little of the texture of grain without overpowering the photo. 
Delivering Buddha statues in Bangkok. Pen F, 17mm f1.8 (34mm equivalent in full frame terms), ISO200, f1.8 @ 1/6400th. 

I really like the look I am getting from these JPEGs. I always photograph in RAW+JPEG with my Olympus cameras. Before the Pen F, my JPEG setting was full resolution at "normal" compression and I used the JPEGs to feed my Instagram account, but I didn't archive them. I'm so happy with the Pen F black and white JPEGs that I save them at full resolution and "Super Fine" compression (highest quality, lowest compression), I archive them in my Lightroom catalog and I've started putting them into my online archive
Songkran travelers wait for their train at Hua Lamphong station in Bangkok. Pen F, 17mm f1.8 lens, ISO200, f1.8 @ 1/160th. 

Songkran travelers in the station. 17mm f1.8 lens, ISO250, f1.8 @ 1/30th. 

I still need the color files though because most publishers and photography users prefer color. That's where working in RAW+JPEG comes in. I have the really nice JPEG files for personal use and I have the color raw files for my archive and sales. The raw files I process normally in Lightroom. 

It's the best of both worlds in one camera body. Back in the day, when I was working with film, I always had one body (or more, depending on the assignment) with color slide film and one body (or more) with black and white film (actually, in my case it was Ilford's HP5+, not Tri-X). Now both come out of the little Pen F.