Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mono Lake California

Mono Lake has a very rich and interesting history I suggest using Google to read about it.

Mono Lake is about 124 miles North of where I'm staying in Lone Pine. I decided to go here as I've been wanting to capture the lake in infrared from the moment I first saw images. So early this morning I packed the Canon 1DsII IR and Leica M9 cameras and made the drive.                    

I've decided for now to keep the images in the false color directly from the IR camera. I'll work on them later once I return home.

And a couple from the M9

I'll be driving through Death Valley tomorrow on my way to Kingman AZ then home on Tuesday.

Thanks for visiting


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Capturing contrasts with the M9

Contrast - a marked difference, a difference, or something that is different.

I woke this morning in Yosemite where it had rained and snowed all night and was in the process of deciding which to do as I made my way to breakfast then checkout. The trees had a lovely frosting of new snow as did the mountains nearby. The sky was much as I have seen it all week which is to say mostly overcast.

I passed Tunnel View on my way out of the Park and had to stop just one more time.                                                          

A couple hours later I'm on a road leading into Death Valley where I took this image. No more snow, the temps are about double from what I've experienced the past week but still heavy clouds and light rain.

I'm in Lone Pine California where tomorrow I decide (maybe with a flip of a coin) of either going the 80 miles to Death Valley or make a drive further North to Mono Lake. Since I've been wanting to shoot Mono Lake in infrared I have a feeling that's where I'll be spending my lunch.

The images were all captured with a leica M9 and 50mm lens.

Thanks for stopping by - please remember your comments are always welcome.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Saying goodbye to Yosemite

I took another walk through the valley this morning this time past Camp 4 west towards the Three Brothers and Sentinel Beach. Can't say how far I walked however I was gone for close to 3-hours getting back to Yosemite Lodge in time for lunch. No bus ride although I did think of doing it however I needed the time to process the images from today and start packing for my departure in the morning. Looks like more snow is in the future here and I may very well wake up to it. As much as I don't want to leave I am still looking forward to warmer weather.

Only three images today - all were taken with the Leica M9 and 50mm lens.
Next stop is Death Valley


My last day in Yosemite with the Leica M9

I leave tomorrow morning for home stopping off first in Death Valley for a day.

I've walked everyday I've been here, some days more, some less. I've walked in rain, snow, sleet and cold clear blue skies always with the M9; its never let me down. I've seen unique and interesting things during my walks from the wolf a couple morning ago to the Yosemite Cemetery yesterday. Walking among the final resting places of a few of the first stewards of this beautiful area leaves a sense of purpose.

I noticed that while all the sites are well cared for there were some that had flowers and small flags; I asked a Park Ranger who tended the graves and he told me it was the descendents. While most of the markers were illegible there are those that mark a passing of a young child and most close to if not over 100 years ago. I don't believe the cemetery is on the normal tourist maps however if you happen to stumble upon it it's worth your while to visit and say a silent thank-you to those who made this land what it is today.
I also loaded the jeep with the Cambo WRS/P45+ and took a drive through the valley. I stopped first in Big Meadow the site of the controlled burn that got out of hand last year. Driving down into the meadow I visited the homestead of a German immigrant George Meyer who in early 1880 built two barns of hand hewn timbers, peeled logs, fieldstone foundations and hand split sugar pine shakes for roofs. Where was The Home Depot then? The barns fell into disrepair as is often the case till 1996 when the National Park Service stepped in and restored them both. The barns and Meyers home stand on old Coulterville Road; the house also served as a resting area for the local stagecoach.
Found this overview shortly after I left Big Meadow
After leaving Big Meadow area I was off to the Tunnel View to see the valley floor. I've been going there everyday with various degrees of success. Getting there I found the sky clear blue with a hint of clouds; just about as good as I've seen it all week. I was able to set the Cambo WRS/P45+ on its tripod for some interesting images while shooting the M9 at the same time. Everything worked well though at times I think I could have used an extra set of hands.
Taken with the Leica M9 & Leica 90mm lens
Taken with Cambo WRS1000 P45+ Schneider 120mm lens

Seeing that I wasn't going to get the amount of clouds I wanted I decided to leave Tunnel View and head into Yosemite Valley and the meadow across from Yosemite Falls. Walked out into the meadow, setting up the tripod for my Cambo WRS/P45+ opening my camp stool and waited for the clouds and colors to show. I also had the M9 around my neck. I was shooting with the short barrel Schneider 120mm lens on the Cambo which gives an equivalent 35mm focal length of around 73mm and I had the 90mm on the Leica M9. There was a small herd of deer nearby and after sitting there for about an hour they all passed by me some as close as 10 feet.
Leica M9 & 90mm lens
Cambo WRS1000 P45+ Scheiner 120mm lens

I plan on taking it easy today with a short walk then maybe jump on a free shuttle bus to see the park in an entirely different way.

I hope you've enjoyed visiting Yosemite through my eyes as much as I've enjoyed sharing.

I've now had the Leica M9 for just over two-weeks; during that time I've experimented with low light, fast moving, cold, wet, and dry. I've customized my M9 and complained about the strap. I hope to sit down after I get home and summarize my thoughts into one post after I return home. That post will be here as well as on Capture Integrations website so stay tuned.

Next stop Death Valley.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another walk in Yosemite with the Leica M9

While I did drive around some today I also walked the better part of two hours this morning using both the 50mm and 35mm lenses. Woke up to snow on the ground and in the trees, beautiful till I stepped outside. Mother Nature couldn't make up her mind whether to rain or snow so she was doing both. The sky for the most part was totally socked in however I did see a small patch of clear blue sky for a nanosecond. I'm enjoying my walks here especially since I have such a small light weight camera. Loaded the Jeep with the Cambo/P45+ along with the M9 and decided to drive to Tunnel View to see what the valley looks like from a high elevation. I was able to capture one image using the M9 and before you know it the valley was completely covered in clouds so no joy with the Cambo. The completely opposite occurred in the meadow across from Lower Yosemite Falls Trail; I was able to capture Half Dome just as it showed itself from the clouds however by the time I tried it with the M9 is was completely covered again.

I've been thinking of adding the following especially since I noted the blog has reached the attention of other blogs/websites, and to name a few. The cameras I use and write about are mine, I own each and everyone bought and paid for. Dave Gallagher, Capture Integration may occasionally send me one to try out (the last one was about 12 months ago and was the Cambo Ultima). I don't review cameras as a profession if I did I'd quit and find other work. What I'm attempting to do here is pass on my thoughts and experiences as they happen, in this case shooting the Leica M9 in weather ranging from the mid 60's when I started this trip to now, snowy, cold, rain, did I mention cold? I'm in Yosemite primarily to capture (hopefully) at least one or two images I feel I'll want to print and hopefully sell, and at the same time attempt to share some images and experiences along the way. So there you have it, I'm a professional fine art landscape photographer and a hobby camera reviewer.

That's it for now.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A morning walk in Yosemite Valley with the Leica M9

The primary reason for me to get the Leica M9 was as a companion camera. I wanted a camera that produced a high quality image while not being overly large or heavy. A camera I could use for scouting locations to return to with my Cambo WRS/P45+. All this has been theory till this morning. I took a walk in Yosemite Valley near where I'm staying with just the M9 and my lenses. The walk lasted well over 90 minutes and I figure I walked close to 4 miles. I had my Domke F2 slung around my neck so it would lay on my left side and be able to move either to the rear or closer to my chest. The bag contained two lenses and an extra battery; not much weight at all. I had the M9 around my neck laying on my chest. I began using the 90mm and changed lenses between that and the 35 and 50mm with little problems. This was a spur of the moment decision to take the walk and I honestly didn't think I'd be that long otherwise I would have also taken at least a monopod. I'm pleased to say everything worked as it should. I returned with no back or shoulder problems from the weight of the gear. I even found an area I'll be returning to with the Cambo to shoot in medium format. All told I'd say this morning's walk was a win-win.

I've been complaining about the camera strap and had the chance to fix it yesterday in Monterey at Camera West. Walked into the store and found that they are not only a Leica dealer they also had concerns with the camera strap; so much so that they actually had a replacement made. My M9 is now wearing a very nice, very soft leather strap that is indeed a joy to have around my neck. I want to give a big vote of thanks to the folks at Camera West; sorry I interrupted your morning meeting though.

Here's a sample of the images from this morning. Enjoy

There'll be more later so stay tuned.  Comments are always welcome as are questions.