Monday, July 31, 2023

A great combo: Canon EOS R and RF 35!

I haven't blogged in a while and I figured this was one worthy of a post.

Last week we took a nice vacation.  Normally when I go on vacation, pack EVERYTHING photographic.  Camera, all the lenses, film camera w/film, extra batteries, extra SD cards, etc, etc.  That usually is about 35-40 lbs of gear with the bag alone.  This year, I decided to much smaller:

That was it!  No film cameras, no zoom lenses, just a more "bare bones" approach that would fit in my small shoulder bag I got off of Amazon a few years back along with an insert that fit it perfectly.  My thought was just to go slim and I'm glad I did.

I found after a few days that I was using the 35mm lens and not the others.  The Canon EOS R is a 30MP camera that hit the market several years ago and was one of the first Canon mirrorless cameras.  I jumped on the mirrorless bandwagon, (even though I bought a 5D Mark IV the previous year), and I haven't looked back!

What I found this week as I really deep dived into shooting with it is that the lens and camera combo are fantastic!  The sharpness and detail I got from my images I feel rivals anything I've ever captured with the 5D and my Tamaron and Sigma lenses.

The 35mm lens is a macro lens as well and you can get REALLY close to your subjects while being able to maintain a wide angle of view which gives you a lot of room to play with depth of field.  To often in the past, I've forced myself to use either my 24-70 or 70-200 because I didn't want to miss a shot.  But this time, I stopped worrying and stuck with primes.  

In my experience, the STM line of glass didn't really hold up as well as the L series of glass that Canon has produced with regards to sharpness and clarity.  But with this recent generation of lenses, that really seems to have changed.  I LOVE my EOS R.  Sure, it's a 5 year old camera and doesn't have all the fancy bells and whistles that the newer line of Canon R bodies that are on the market, but I am content with this camera.  I don't shoot a lot of video so I know there's missing features that video creators look for, but if you're looking for a step into the mirrorless world, I highly recommend this camera.  Sure, I want an R5, but will probably settle for an R6 Mark II or the R8 which has most all the same "guts" of the R6mII, but for around $1000 less!

For now, I'll keep shooting with this combo because after having a week to intentionally slow down and enjoy the process and not worry about missing things, I think I found something great that I've been missing out for a long time.  I think next on my list will be a day with the RF50!

Here's some of what I captured from the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Age of Steam Roundhouse.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

It's been a minute(s) since I last posted.....

 What's up good people?

You know, having a blog is only good if you use it.  I know it's been a while since I've posted any content on here and I figured now is a good time to share.  I'm always sharing something on my Facebook page and keep this around to be my sounding board but don't utilize it enough.

These last two and a half years have been rough.  Started off with the pandemic, then the distancing.  Then lots of changes in our personal lives and household.  Then the continued concern of the pandemic on top of political and social unrest.  Then more struggles for a lot of people in our lives.  Then more changes.  Then a period of quiet taken up by playing with 3D printers.  Now, once things seem to be getting back into a groove, my wife and I both get hit with the bug.  Yup.  After 2 1/2 years we finally got it.  Variants will do that.  )I started this blog entry while I was sick and saw the tab was still one of the hundreds opened in Chrome so I figured I should finish it off.) 

But through all of this, I've tried to stay active with my photography.  It's been tough at times due to some physical limitations, but I keep trying.  And I keep shooting.  I've shot more film this year and actually expanded my film camera family by two "new" cameras.  In late December I traded in some other equipment and put that towards purchasing a Fuji GW690iii, the "Texas Leica".  A larger film camera that produce 6x9 cm negatives, which are pretty large compared to a 35mm film frame.

Purchase from Midwest Photo in Columbus.

I love the images that this camera can produce.  With the larger negative size you are able to capture much more detail in the images which translates nicely when printing.  You don't see a lot or any grain.

So in keeping with my desire to capture images with film, there was one more camera on my list of ones I wanted for my collection.  That camera is the Mamiya C330.  

This camera shoots 6x6 cm negative in the square format.  This is the type of camera that you flip the top of it up and look down through it.  I already have one of those types that I use often, my Yashica Mat 124G, but the one thing that camera has problems with it doing up close photography.  The Mamiya excels at that.  I'm still putting that camera through its paces but I am liking what I am seeing.

So while I continue my advancing my digital photography endeavours, I will continue to happily keep shooting film as well.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  No matter how hard you try, you cannot make an image shot on digital and get the look and feel like you can shooting film.  Film has a depth and soul to it.  

And another thing I keep meaning to work on his my YouTube channel.  I've done a few videos on it and likely as the weather starts turning colder in the next couple of months I will try to produce more content on there.

So for now, I think we're pretty well caught up.  Keep an eye on my Facebook page for the most up to date things I'm doing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Let's see, where were we......?

I know.  It's been a while since I've sat down and really banged out a blog post on here.  I can see from my traffic monitoring that people are still visiting this page, so I figured I should do an update! (But to stay up to date, please follow me on Facebook!)

It's been an interesting 20 months now, hasn't it?  This pandemic rages forward and while at the beginning of summer there was a glimmer of hope, that was quickly dashed away and we're heading down another dark path.  

I'm over it.

But through it all, I've tried to keep busy with my work.  The demands of the day job and knee surgery in the spring had taken a bit of wind out of my sails this year but I am trying to press forward.  Back in the spring while I was out on leave, I created a collection of images created during the shutdown.  At that time I thought there was going to be a light at the end of the tunnel so I was starting to feel a bit more creative. 

And then shortly after that and I was back on my feet, I was approached about doing a special shoot for the local economic development group.  In New Philadelphia they are in the process of tearing down the old Howden Buffalo plant that had stood there for years.  They wanted someone to come in and capture the structures in it's last days.  It was an amazing shoot that took most of a Saturday to do it justice.  I created a site for those images (click here) and also a short video

Aside from those two things, it's been pretty standard with my work.  I keep trying to do more film photography, sometimes picking that over digital, but still enjoy both.  

So, that really catches you up on the hijinks and shenanigans with me and my photography.  

Please keep checking back here.  I'll try and blog more, but keep watching my Facebook for the most up to date stuffs.  Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, December 4, 2020

Been quiet around here lately.....

 Okay.  I admit it.  I'm a bad blogger.

I started several years ago to highlight my work and post/share updates on things I was doing.  I also had a very active blog I kept for the "day job" too.  But with both cases social media took over and the days of the blog seemed to fade away.  But, I still see people are coming to the blog and checking it out, so I figured I would provide an update.

2020.....what a year.

I don't want to make light of it because so many people have been struggling with either themselves or a loved one fighting the pandemic or have lost someone to it or are dealing with all of the stressors surrounding this past year.  Since everything began in March I've taken the stance that I am going to do everything possible to avoid it and follow all the best practices laid out by medical experts.  But in doing so, I had to dial back the photography business.  I hadn't taken any appointments for shoots this year nor have I actively gone after them.  With the pandemic I found it's really difficult to be creative.   Photography has and will continue to be my own personal therapy on many levels, but getting out and not getting around people at times is difficult.  But I did keep creating.

I've continued forward shooting with film.  Also got some new glass for my digital camera.  So having the right equipment to do what I want with it has been a blessing.  But, not being able to share it at art shows or other events has hit the bottom line.  Fortunately, I have a full-time "day job" that provides for me to take care of my family so I am fortunate there.  So, if you are stopping by here to see what's going on, THANK YOU!  I appreciate you looking me up.  I'll try to pay more attention to this site moving forward but I invite you to stop by my Facebook page Andy Donaldson Photography.  There you will always find the latest work and things I'm up to.

I hope you have a fantastic and safe rest of 2020.  Here's to 2021.  We still have a long road ahead, but let's all do what we can to get us there safely.

For now, here's some work I created over the past year.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The more things change.....

So it's been a hot minute since I sat down and wrote a blog post.  I actually was thinking about cutting a YouTube video to go over what I was thinking about recently, but after doing a test run through it and looking at it on the computer, I decided it's probably best just to type it all out rather than try to become the next YouTube sensation ;-)
So what have I been up to, you ask?  Well, film.
It's amazing, to me, that with all the digital equipment acquired that I have wanted, I still am drawn to grab a camera and a roll of film to go out and explore with.  Perhaps it's because I've always enjoyed creating black and white images in the cold months and save the colorful ones for when it's green.  
Well, that's not always the case.  But I really enjoy film.

Monday, October 21, 2019

That time my soul exploded and an incredible thing happened when I least expected it.

I don't know how other creatives feel about the work they do.  
At times, I have felt like a hack.  Like what I was creating with my camera was just....stuff. Noise. Snapshots.  I get compliments on my work often.  I'm not looking to get my ego stroked but when I do get compliments, it feels good.  But then the only thing that I can think is "catholic guilt" sneaks in and makes me feel like I shouldn't be feeling that way. That I need remain humble.  I'm sure others that create things feel that way too.  When I started doing this on a more professional level a while back the only thing I wanted for my work was that potentially 100 years from now an image I created would be hanging somewhere.  In a house, or maybe a museum or anywhere really.  I just wanted to leave my mark on the world.  Wanted to be remembered as someone who just didn't sit behind a computer all day making sure they kept working, but as something more.  Well, yesterday something happened that I was never expecting and I was humbled.  And I think now, I can feel a bit of pride calling myself an artist.
On Sunday the 20th of October, an event was held once again called "Art on the Alley" in the city near where I live.  It's a chance for local artisans to, affordably, rent a space and set up shop to show and sell your creations.  I've been fortunate enough have done 2 others before this and it's always been a great experience not just selling work, (which I did), but also talking with people about it.  Plus it's a great chance to spend the day with my wife who is also an artist and just get our art groove on.  As the day progressed yesterday, the crowds would come and go, stopping along the way to the vendors to see what they had.  Sometimes there would be many, other times just a couple, but with the beautiful mid-60's October day with clear blue sky and a young woman playing the violin nearby, it just was an incredible scene.  So I was in a good head-space.  Then, a person (whom will remain completely anonymous), came up to my table.  They introduced themselves to me and because of the noise I had a difficult time hearing them. The person went on to tell me that they have been following my work for some time now on Facebook and because of their condition, they can't get out much.  They went on to tell me how my photography gives them a lot of happiness and doesn't make them feel so isolated.  They are able to follow along and see what I see out there in the world.
I didn't know what to say.  I thanked them and wished them well as they moved on along the line of vendors and my wife gave me a "what's wrong?" look as I turned away from the table.  I told her I needed a minute until the table was cleared from someone looking at the prints.  When they left, I broke down.  I told Denise about it.  My work...the thing I do with my camera that I have a love and a passion for, has been able to give someone some solace and escape from their problems in life.  
No amount of sales, no amount of social media shares/likes, no amount of anything has ever impacted me more that that person stopping by and telling me that.
So, thank you, person.  I mean, I am sorry what you are going through, truly.  But knowing that what I do brings you some comfort and happiness, well, you just gave me a new drive with my work.  And importantly, the ability to finally see myself as an artist.  
You've lit a fire in my soul. 
I stole a line from another artist. When I go out to shoot, my prayer has become, "Let the creator of the universe, create through me."  I think that Creator sent that person to me to allow me to finally see that it's okay to feel how I feel about that work.  And taking that forward I feel will only make me better.

Monday, July 22, 2019

That time I fell out of love with photography

I've been telling myself almost weekly that I need to get back to blogging.  Years ago in my "day job" career, blogging was a very useful tool to network with others and share information.  But as time went on, my blog started to fade as Twitter and Facebook took off.  So, my apologies for not posting any new content as of late.  This post should make up for that.

So why the title, "That time I fell out of love with photography"? 

Simple.  Because I did.  

Well, maybe not completely, but I did get to a point where I found it hard to create.  All creators go through it from time to time, I'm sure.  But I hit that wall.  It got to the point where I didn't even want to pick up the camera.  But them something changed.  I picked up a camera, but it was a film camera.
My walk through the world of photography started 35 or so years ago after I moved with my parents from Detroit to a town called Hudson in Ohio.  One of the classes the school offered was black and white photography.  I learned how to take pictures, develop the negatives and created pictures with an enlarger; you know, the "old school" method.  Well, as I've written about elsewhere, with those skills, I wanted to become the next Ansel Adams.  But the lesson learned then was that the world already had one and I wasn't that good.  So, I put the film away and then some years later I picked up digital and I hadn't looked back.  That was until recently.  Over the past several years every now and again I would order some black and white film from the internet and ship it off to have it developed.  The results were fantastic.  With all the recent advances in technology with digital imaging, there's one thing I found that digital can't do.  Digital images look beautiful but sometimes are without a soul.  Film somehow has a way of showing that soul more clearly than digital ever can.  So in the summer of 2018, I bought a medium format film camera, a Mamiya m645.  It's the type of camera I always dreamed of when I was younger, but they were thousands of dollars back then.  But luckily for me I only spent $125 on a used body and a lens.  I of course bought a couple rolls of film and instantly I was transported back to the late 1980.  When you shoot film, it's the great unknown.  Did I hit the exposure correctly?  Is it in focus?  Lot's of "if's".  And of course, having the wait for the film to be developed at the lab and the digital scans to post online always seemed like forever.  When I saw the results, that old feeling and love for creating started coming back quickly.

Since those first couple of rolls I shot and sent out for development, I went ahead and bought a developing tank, chemistry, and a quality Epson scanner.  I'm now once again doing something I did many years ago in my parents basement in my own home.  And the results have been fantastic.  I'll go out and shoot some film, come home, load it into the tank and develop it in my kitchen sink.  When it's done, I hang it up to dry and then scan the images into my computer rather than use an enlarger and make prints.  Actually, since I started doing this technique again I have been very successful at some recent art shows with people wanting these images over the digital color ones.

So the moral of this story for another create who feels that they've hit a wall, keep going.  But, find another way to channel your creative juices.  You may just find it's the kick you need to get your mojo back.