Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Big Island In September

Hawaii was absolutely lovely as always. These were all shot with a Sony A7 paired with the Zeiss 24-70mm zoom and the Zeiss 55mm prime.
I miss it already...maybe I'll retire there someday. A nice dream anyway. :)

As always, click through for bigger images.

Martian Surface Feature

Some fun textures for a rainy Thursday evening...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Beyond My Fingertips

I think maybe for a lot of people, the Universe ends at their fingertips.
...But that's so unknowingly selfish, so sadly lost.

They're hurt so they hurt others, they're damaged so they damage, no wonder it seems, for them, the whole world is against them. Obviously all this pain is coming from the outside...but there is *no outside* when the Universe ends at your fingertips.

Those people garner my deepest sympathy and pity...but they terrify me. I want to heal them all...but I'm world-weary of the damage they inflict.

Maybe it's time to go live in a tiny house in the woods...or an island...

Who's coming with? ^_^

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mt. Ranier Scenic Railway

A few shots taken on a Sunday jaunt courtesy of the Leica X2. Click to enbiggen...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

High-Contrast Gas

I recently reworked some of my photos from Gasworks Park in Seattle for a bleached, high-contrast look. These were all shot with the Sigma DP 1 Merrill and edited with Nik Software's Color Efex Pro 4. Click for bigger versions:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blistered Tarmac

As much fun as it was to visit family, it's nice to be home. Phoenix had temps exceeding 110 degrees while we were there and I just could not function.

A quick snap at the airport with the Leica X2:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sumer Is Icumen In

Summer is officially here...though you might not recognize it from the grey skies here in the PNW!
There have been a few hints here and there though. Here's a few recent pictures taken recently with my little Leica X2. As always, click for a larger view:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hi there!

Some background on me and my view of the universe:

The scientific method is how we discover the truth - it has nothing to do with politics. This is why we have things like double-blind testing, control groups and peer review to remove expectations and opinion from the process. It's not perfect but its the only tool in the drawer and, thankfully, it's self-correcting.

Politics is another can of worms entirely and I'm not going fishing any time soon so I can do without the worms for now. That said, I'm a centrist politically and a pragmatist when it comes to fiscal issues. So get off my lawn or I'll turn the hose on you. ;)

Conspiracy theories are even more wormy - the more extreme your claim, the more powerful and ubiquitous your proof needs to be. Most conspiracies suffer from more than a modicum of confirmation bias or are obvious attempts at directing people's attention elsewhere.

My background is biology and geology as well as information technology though I've been an amateur astronomer all my life. I did crazy things in college and have photographed, drawn and painted thousands of pictures.

Glad to buy anyone a beer and talk about anything but am not interested in an argument...unless it's the 5-minute-Monty-Python variety. ^_^


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The MS Optical 28mm Perar f/4 Super-Triplet

Such a fun little Leica M-mount lens! Here's just a few quick shots from around the house and yard taken with this minuscule marvel on the Leica M240 camera. Even wide open at f/4 this is stunning for color and clarity!

The (extreme) corners are a bit mush but, hey, it's to be expected with a triplet like this. It's actually *very* well corrected for a three-element lens!

Amazed at the build quality as well as the image quality! Lenses with few elements like this have such an unusual "draw" to them...very "liquid" with lots of vibrant color. I'll be using this one quite a bit I think.

One thing to note, on the Leica M240, there was little-to-none of the weird "Italian flag" color shift you sometimes see from third-party wide-angle lenses, making this eminently usable on the M!

The below pictures are all shot at f/4 except the last one which is at f/8. These are all shot with available light. Please click to enlarge them:

This is Mr Sadayasu Miyazaki, head of MS Optical R&D. I can't say enough regarding my respect for this man!

He is the designer, creator and manufacturer of these stunning little MS Optical lenses. It's amazing to see such quality and quirky innovation coming from such a small operation for such limited runs of lenses.

I got my copy of this fabulous lens from Japan Camera Hunter, a great photography blog and resource!

I previously wrote about the MS Optical 35mm Perar triplet here.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014


Here and there, there have been some signs...

Leica M240 with 50mm Summicron f/2
(Click to enlarge.)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning Sale

Still for sale (pickup *only*):

Nord Stage 76 $1200
Korg Oasys $2000 (fully loaded w/ spare processor & mobo)

Novation Bass Station Rack $200
Sequential Circuits Six-trak $400
Sequential Circuits Pro-8 (Japanese version of Split-Eight) $1000
Waldorf Q Rack + 3 Q Cards $900
Spectral Audio Syntrack $300

Remember, these are currently pick up only! I'm 30 miles north of Seattle, WA
Email me with any questions - carbon111[at symbol]  Everything's in great shape...

Not giving up music, just need to find the studio under all this gear. ^_^

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Miracles Do Happen

No waiting list required. Those swell guys at who have been my go-to guys for all things Leica actually had a M 240 in stock! Seeing these things are rare as hen's teeth, I hopped on it before anybody else could.

Maxed out my credit again as well. :/
And the Sony A7R, as good as it was, is now gone...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Well, the Sony A7r is no Leica M...

But we all knew that, right?

I guess my title would be obvious to most people, but the promise of a relatively low-cost, compact, low-light-capable, hi-rez wonder that would accept my M-mount glass was too much to resist and I picked up a Sony A7r (and its native 35mm prime) to try out. I was honestly hoping to avoid the "upgrade cost" from my Leica M9 to the new M 240.

Don't misunderstand me, the A7r is an absolutely fantastic camera - with it's native glass. But I'm finding with adapted lenses its far too fiddly, and I'm not even talking about the problems with wide-angle lenses.
Part of the issue is that focus peaking is not very accurate on the A7r - it will get you in the ballpark but then you have to click a button for a magnified view to finish tweaking focus. Conversely, focus peaking has been spot-on on my Sony NEX 6 and Ricoh GXR.

There are other problems as well: Edges and corners, even with "normal" FOV glass can be unacceptably soft and occasionally smeared. Weird reflective artifacts, even on a vanilla lens like the 50mm Cron have ruined a few shots as well. On some shots I'm seeing unusual rainbow refraction around bright specular highlights. The lens compensation app, while promising at first for wide-angle use, is too limited and has proved mostly a time waster. The battery life is a joke, even with wifi and image review turned off.

If the A7r had been anything like a full-frame version of the Ricoh GXR (with A12 mount) it would have been perfect. That oddball machine is such a sorely-underrated little camera!

As it stands, I'm selling my A7r and getting back on a waiting list for the M 240, but I thought I'd post this as a bit of a cautionary tale for any other Leicaphiles thinking the A7r attractive as a "second body" for their Leica glass. It *can* work with a lot of fiddling around, as I did get a lot of wonderful shots, but in the end I found the camera itself kept getting in the way of the picture-taking process.

Despite the fact that it's getting a bit long-in-the-tooth, my Leica M9 is still a fabulous camera...I just wish it was better in low light, had a bit more resolution and had live view for critical framing, which is why I'm still pining for the new M. ;)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things I'm discovering about Sony's A7r...

Things to consider:

The A7r and even A7 can handily out-resolve many vintage lenses. A lot of vintage lenses aren't very well coated, further reducing contrast and image quality.

So far, with my A7r, only the very best of my lenses have proved useful - my Leica rangefinder glass especially has been up to the task, but they're mostly modern pieces. Using them on the A7r has been a bit "fiddly" though...don't know if this is a deal-breaker yet.

The native FE 35mm is astoundingly sharp, even when pixel-peeping. This lens will spend a lot of time on the camera. The 55mm looks to be even sharper. These lenses are bargains for their asking price in my opinion.

I'm not saying vintage glass is useless but I'm finding the A7r body doesn't really shine until you match it with a lens worthy of its massive resolution.

Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8

CZ Jena 20mm f/2.8 Prakticar

Zeiss FE 35mm f/2.8

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sony A7r - First Few Shots

Well, the Sony A7r is very promising! Too bad the last few days have been dark, rainy Winter workdays here in the PNW. :)
I tried a variety of manual glass on it with decent results.
I'd say it is a demanding camera...but probably no more so than the 5DmkII was. I'll be using the EVF most of the time I think for the added stability. 

I wish Sony would allow me to set the slowest shutter speed limit in aperture-priority mode...been shooting manual mode with auto-ISO because of that...

Picture quality is gorgeous, even at 100% magnification, and even with some vintage lenses I was worried weren't up to snuff. Zeiss made some amazing glass...still do for that matter if the new FE 35mm f/2.8 is anything to go by.

Can't wait 'till the weekend when I can really put it through its paces but, in the meantime, here's a few shots. Click to enlarge:

Voigtlander 50mm Nokton f/1.5

Voigtlander 50mm Nokton f/1.5

Voigtlander 50mm Nokton f/1.5

Voigtlander 50mm Nokton f/1.5

Voigtlander 40mm Nokton f/1.4

CZ Jena Prakticar 20mm f/2.8

Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.2

Leica 50mm Summicron f/2

And here's a 100% crop from the above photo. This was shot at 1/60 (in crappy light by the way)...