How To Catch a Bullet … updated

Update:  Yesterday, I accidentally posted this to Google+, so decided to just go ahead and update it.  See the bottom of the post for more info.

Okay, the title may be ever so slightly misleading … what I meant was how to catch a bullet inflight with a camera.  🙂

For some time now, I’ve wanted to try some sequence shots of a semi-automatic pistol in action.  This weekend provided the perfect opportunity while a photographer friend was visiting and we had a nice warm, sunny day.
(Yes, I know you can stop a bullet in flight with flash and trigger of some sort, but this was done the old fashioned way … pure luck!)

We set the camera at ISO 400 for a fast shutter speed of 1/6,000th of a second at f/3.3 using a fast 85mm lens on a Nikon D700.  Then while I did the shooting, my buddy took the photos.  Fortunately, I had the MB-D10 Multi Power Battery Pack on my D700 so the burst rate was up to 8 fps.  The pistol was a Beretta Px4 Storm, shooting .40 caliber S&W ammunition.

Continue reading “How To Catch a Bullet … updated”


Time Travel …

Layers of color, light, and structure

Years ago I wrote in my profile somewhere, “Photography provides a way to capture time and then travel back there whenever you wish. Every time you look at a photo, it can transport you back to that moment, allowing you to relive and remember.”

Recently, I was browsing through some of my old photos and came across a series I took in 2004, back in my Canon days with the 10d.  About a week after I retired from flying airplanes for Delta Air Lines, I struck out on a solo photo journey through part of the great American southwest.  The main points of interest on my itenerary were those awesome national parks:  The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Canyonlands.

I started very early at The Grand Canyon, and spent several hours roaming the rim and shooting the canyon.   Continue reading “Time Travel …”

Light, shadow, perspective … ever changing


This game room is in our apartment complex office, and in the afternoons has an ever changing pattern of light coming through the west windows.  That, coupled with the simple chess board on a small table, and perfect art on the wall, always gives me a chance for a new perspective on a familiar subject.

Taken with the Olympus E-M1 and the 12-50mm kit lens. This lens is incredibly cheap right now ($150 USD … normally $500), and is a great buy. It’s got a fairly slow aperture at 3.5-6.3, but a nice range of 24-100 (FF equiv.), and a very good close-up ability.  At that price you can hardly go wrong with this little jewel, especially if on a budget.

Like a Moth to a Flame …

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been in and out of my camera bag a few times, now.  Like the proverbial Moth to the Flame, I seem to be irresistibly drawn to the small but powerful Olympus.  I loved the Sony A-7RM2 and Leica Q, but they were just a bit pricey for my “enthusiast’s” budget.  And while the Fujifilm X-T1 and X100T are awesome cameras, they just don’t completely satisfy my desires.  (Although I must admit that I’m keeping a very close eye on the new X-T2.  :-))

Why the E-M1?

So what is it?  Why does the E-M1 seem to be (for me) the camera that most meets my needs? Continue reading “Like a Moth to a Flame …”

The “Q” … My First Experience with a Leica

The Leica Q has been on my wish list since I first read about it when it was announced on June 10, 2015.  Why?  Well first, it’s made by the renowned German camera maker, Leica, plus it has a full frame sensor, fast Leica Summilux lens, excellent EVF, and for me the image stabilization is important.  I kept trying to get the same general features but at a lower cost by using different cameras, and I thought maybe the Ricoh GR would scratch that itch since it had the 28mm lens and an excellent APS-C sensor.  It didn’t.  In the end, I think it came down to the fact that I had never used a Leica and I just wanted to … Continue reading “The “Q” … My First Experience with a Leica”

Corrected: Olympus OM-D E-M1 (and E-M5II) Back Button Focus

Some reader’s questions enlightened me to the fact that I didn’t have all of the necessary information in this post, so I’ve tried to rectify that.  Sure hope it helps.  🙂

“Back Button Focus” refers to a way to engage autofocus (AF) on your camera separately from the shutter button, and is the preferred technique for many photographers.  The big benefit (for me) is that it allows me to stay in Manual Focus (MF) while retaining the capability to AF if I want to.  In practice, it allows you to use AF and then automatically revert back to MF so you can refine if necessary.  Then, you can expose, compose, and shoot without worrying about the focus changing when you take the shot.  Plus, it enables you to tweak the focus if necessary.  It’s also handy in the studio, so you can focus on your subject and then not worry about possibly changing the focus point every time you press the shutter button.

The beauty of the way I set up my E-M1, is that with just a flick of the Lever, I can easily get back to full AF with the shutter button.  So here’s one way to do it … there are probably others.  Go into the Custom Setup (Gear icon) – Menu B (Button/Dial/Lever) – Lever Function and set it to Mode 5.  The first 4 modes essentially change which dial or button is used to change WB and ISO.  I prefer to do that in either the SCP (Super Control Panel) or set my Right and Down Arrow Keys for those functions.

There are also two other settings required for this to work.  First, you must keep the AEL/AFL Button configured to AEL/AFL:  Custom Menu B – Button Function – AEL/AFL Function – AEL/AFL.  Second, go to Custom Menu A – AEL/AFL, press the OK Button, select MF and press OK again.  Now, set MF to mode 3 and press OK one more time.  If you also like using Back Button Focus when in S-AF, then set S-AF to mode 3, also.  BUT, if you set S-AF to mode 3, you lose the AEL functionality of the AEL/AFL button when the lever is in position 1.

Continue reading “Corrected: Olympus OM-D E-M1 (and E-M5II) Back Button Focus”

Sony A7RII Delayed Temporarily

In my Last Post, I talked about the recent mishaps leading to my decision to buy the A7RII.  It turns out, that decision will have to be delayed for a short while.

Recent serious problems with my computer forced me to buy an “unplanned” new laptop.  This understandably put a slight kink in my budget, so I’ve gone back to the Sony A7II until I can catch up with my finances.

Now, this is not a bad deal in any way.  The A7II is a fantastic camera, only a step behind the A7RII.  The biggest difference as you all know is in the resolution, 24MP vs a newly designed 42MP sensor.  Of course, the newer A7RII also sports some very nice refinements, notably in the EVF and AF, and reportedly a possible improvement in the 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system.

So for the near future, it’s the A7II and just like before … I’m loving it!  🙂