Zuiko 24/2.8

Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior

Submitted by Ken Norton on Sat, 10/08/2016 - 22:54

Aurora borealis

Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior. This photo was taken from the shoreline at Union Bay Campground in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. An essentially moonless evening, and a few scattered clouds made viewing possible. I used the Canon 6D with the OM Zuiko 24/2.8 lens at F5.6 for this picture.

The critical lesson for shooting auroras is to use as short of a shutter speed as possible. Auroras are constantly moving and to get the structures, a shorter shutter speed is necessary.

Canon 6D, Olympus OM Zuiko 24/2.8. ISO 6400, 20 seconds, F5.6. Processed in Lightroom CC.

The Gotcha of the Great

Submitted by Ken Norton on Tue, 12/08/2015 - 17:30


Colorado road
Colorado road. Fujichrome Velvia. Olympus OM-2S, Zuiko 24/2.8

I've been in hog-heaven shooting Fujichromes again, but I discovered an old curse that has reared its ugly head again.

The Gotcha of the Great!

A good 'chrome, such as Velvia or Kodachrome is expensive to shoot.  The per-shot cost is very high, and when combined with larger-formats, is difficult to justify.  This was true before, and it's even more true today in the world overrun by digital.
This is only one side of the equation, though.  The reason to shoot Velvia or other high-quality 'chrome is for the quality of the images it results in.  You know, for example, how well Velvia enhances colors during the "golden hours"--it takes what is beautiful and extends it into another dimension.

But this comes at a price--not just monetory, but psychological.  You end up not shooting pictures because you are constantly asking yourself: "Is this Velvia-worthy?"  Because of this questioning, you end up NOT taking the picture because you know in your heart that the picture just isn't good enough to commit to a film of this quality. As a result, you miss many photographic opportunities through this "pre-edit" process.

A massive advantage of digital over great film is that you are more likely to take pictures of things that you'd never commit a frame of expensive film to. Granted, the majority of these pictures are "tossers", but once in a while one of these "also-ran" photographs is a winner.

The key to survival in the film world is to be willing to waste photographs on experimental or secondary pictures. If you can't get beyond the "Gotcha of the Great", then it may pay to have a second camera loaded with low-cost film or even a digital camera.  Save the expensive film for the "I'm making a statement with this photograph". This way, by using dual cameras you won't miss out on the low hanging fruit while you reach for the highest apple.