CORN MAIDENS AND A BEAR

Among the many things I collect, Native American fetishes are among my favorites. I have a lot of them and many are tiny and intricate. Which makes them difficult to photograph and that is why you haven’t really seen them thus far.

Today I tackled my largest fetishes, my Corn Maidens. I have four, each carved from a different material and by a different carver. And I added the bear because he seemed to want to be a part of the festivities.

Each piece is a work of art. The maidens are my favorites, but I also love my bears, eagles, bobcats, mountain lions and wolves. I would have even more, but I know I suffer from collection addiction. I had to go “cold turkey.”


 

All pictures were taken with my 60 mm f2.8 Olympus macro lens in natural light.

BY THE RIVER

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On the last day of July, the heat finally broke. The humidity, too. A few months ago, I got a Panasonic Lumix f4, 40 to 150mm telephoto for my Olympus cameras … and then, the Olympus f1.8 25 mm went on sale.

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I bought it, thus completing my lens collection for the Olympus cameras. There are others I wish I had, but they are all out of my price range — or they duplicate (or overlap) lenses I already own.

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It was a very bright day. The big problem on very bright days is always exposure. The contrast is so sharp, it is hard to find an exposure where you can see the highlight and not lose the detail in the shadow.

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I learned a lot about my two lenses. That the Lumix telephoto is not as good as I might wish, but it’s okay. It gets me closer than I thought it would with acceptable quality. The exceptional lens in that range is out of my price range. I can work with this.

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The Olympus f1.8 25 mm is a terrific piece of glass. Sharp from edge to edge with lovely bokeh.

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My collection is complete. I know I’ll want something else. That someone will make a camera I lust for because a passion for camera gear never really ends. But for the foreseeable future, I’ve got what I need, more than I ever expected.

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A DEEP GREEN SUMMER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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It was the first day in a couple of weeks that wasn’t too hot and humid to breathe, so we went with out our cameras. I have a not-quite-new, but not-much-used-yet camera, a bright yellow Pentax Q7 which Marilyn got for me before they disappeared from the market.

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We went down the road to where the river flows under a bridge and around a long curve and the wildflowers bloom on the banks.

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Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we find a heron or a gaggle of geese.

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It was a very bright day, making it a challenge to get the right exposure. I did some experimenting. It was the first time shooting without contact lenses and without a viewfinder.

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No wildlife today, but the bright sunshine turned the river into a mirror reflecting everything. The dominant deep green of the leaves. The deep blue sky and white fluffy clouds scudding across.

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VERY CLOSE – THE WORDPRESS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

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A more perfect challenge could not have been arranged for today. Especially in view of my working for the past few weeks almost exclusively with my dearly beloved macro lens.

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I could not select a single picture, so I’m including a bit of everything from the past few weeks of macro shooting. It is mostly flowers, but also, a few other little things are included, just for variety.

late afternoon bouquet

All these pictures were taken using the Olympus f2.8 60mm macro lens on the Olympus PEN PL-6.

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A word about the Olympus PEN PL-6. Olympus dropped it into the market with no warning at a hard-to-resist price of $299. It is the Japanese version of the PL-7. I have made every comparison I can.

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I can’t find any difference between the two cameras. The PL-6 was available for about a week. I bought one and it has become the home of the macro lens. You can’t get a PL-6 at any price now, not on any site, including Olympus or Amazon.

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I have no idea why Olympus dropped them into the market like that, then made them disappear. I’m grateful I was on the ball and able to snag one while it was hot!

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I can’t begin to say how much I’m enjoying this lens and camera. It is so satisfying, I find it hard to remember how I took closeup pictures before I owned it.

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PHOTO TECHNO CRISIS

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I was playing with a camera this morning, trying to capture flowers in the morning light. In the middle of this artistic endeavor, I had a minor, yet memorable techno-crisis. It is a classic example of the kind of problems that beset us because of the technology on which we depend.

I’ve been taking pictures for more than 40 years. I know my way around a camera.

My first cameras were mechanical. Film. I took a lot of rolls of black and white because I could develop black and white film. A lot cheaper than sending it out to a lab. I also did my own printing, mounting, and framing, though I’ve completely forgotten how.

Olympus PEN PL-5

The only electronic part of those film cameras might be the light meter. My first half-dozen cameras didn’t have built-in light meters, so I used a Weston Master V. It was a standard part of my equipment for years. If I forgot it, the piece of paper that came with Kodak film was a pretty good substitute. We affectionately called it “the paper light meter.”

A while back, I bought a handheld meter almost exactly like the one I used for so many years — and realized I had no idea what to do with it. It has been a long time.

Pentax Q7 plus lenses camera

Cameras might break and need repair, cleaning, or adjustment, but basically, there wasn’t much to go wrong. As long as you didn’t drop it, soak it in salt water, or spill coffee in it, it could last forever. To prove my point, there are a surprising number of these old film cameras still in use.

There weren’t many moving parts: shutter, film winding mechanism. You set film speed (ISO), shutter speed, f-stop. Aim, frame, focus, press the shutter. Voila. Photograph.

Today, my camera wakes me in the morning and starts the coffee. If I ask nicely, it will do the grocery shopping, though it draws the line at laundry. Not really. But close enough.

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If something goes wrong, it’s crazy time.

This morning, I removed the lens cap and turned the camera on. I unlocked the lens. The menu came on, but no picture appeared. Flashing on the screen was something I’d never seen before. Without a clue what it meant, I double-checked to make sure I really had removed the lens cap. I had.

So I did what I do with my computer. I rebooted. I turned it off, waited, then turned it back on.

More flashing. No picture.

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I removed the battery and the memory card, counted to twenty. Put them back. Still flashing. Still no picture.

By now, I was in full panic mode. My camera wasn’t working. Fear gripped me. Eventually, it occurred to me to check whether or not the lens was properly seated.

Click. The flashing stopped. A picture appeared. The lens had been loose. I must have accidentally pressed the lens release button, so it wasn’t quite locked. Ergo ipso, the camera wouldn’t work.

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With all the ridiculous, useless functions built into modern cameras, how come they don’t have anything that alerts you that the lens is loose? Or for that matter, that your battery is about to die? The next time someone is adding bells and whistles to the software, please consider adding something useful. If necessary, remove one of the many pointless menu options and add something we might use.

I felt like a moron. Then, I took some pictures.

ONE FLOWER AT A TIME

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In my continuing exploration of the wonders of my macro lens, I find myself focusing on flowers. I want to take macros of other things, but … well … nothing else looks quite as good very close up as flowers.

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Today, I took my latest bouquet from my beloved outside to shoot in natural bright shade on the deck. Because a macro lens is hard to focus in any light, but it’s a real bear when the lights are down low. What helps is more light and more contrast.

Lines and shadows cut the effort required to focus really close in half. Shooting a little further back helps even more.

Frog Sundial Portrait

This was a very mixed bouquet. Lots of different colors and textures. I experimented a little with adding texture to make it more painterly.

water runoff from flowers deck

Everything was taken with the Olympus PEN PL-6 and the f 2.8 60 mm macro lens.