The National Parks Traveler published my latest photography article. This month’s article deals with focusing on more than just “The Mountain” in Mount Rainier National Park. Click on the photo above to be taken to the article.
Pelicans are so very stately when flying (a little prehistoric, too). Thankfully, that gives me decent practice with my panning skills. It still helps to have a camera with a relatively fast fps (frames per second) count, and it also helps to remember to put your focus mode into AI Servo (or whatever mode your brand of camera calls the ability to track moving objects while keeping them in focus).
I’m all packed and ready for my trip back to this national seashore later this week. All I need to do is cook a few items to put in the cooler. I’m driving, which means I not only am able to keep my tripods fully extended in the back of the car, but I can, essentially, bring along the kitchen sink, coffee maker, and refrigerator
On behalf of the National Parks Traveler, I’m traveling back to this national seashore to photograph a release of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings. Even though the hatchling schedule on the PAIS (Padre Island National Seashore) webpage gives a range of days during which there might be a release, that doesn’t always mean this will occur. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though. And heck, I’ll be on vacation and the sunrises are amazing there, not to mention the seabird photography. I plan to stick around for a sunset or two, as well, and, on the 9th is the new moon, which means – unless there are storm clouds – I might see some stars.
Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.
Self-Portrait taken with the 55mm lens at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
I believe I mentioned in a recent post that I’d sold my firstborn (ok, I don’t have kids so that’s not entirely true – I sold someone else’s firstborn – just kidding) to purchase a new Pentax 645z medium format body and a couple of used lenses (the 55mm and the 28-45mm zoom). I haven’t really gotten out with it, much; this camera is sort of like saving the “good” silverware for use at that special dinner party. Also, I currently live in a part of Texas that is totally blah when it comes to scenic landscapes, especially in the summer. Hey, I was born in Montana and also lived in Washington State, so I tend to measure everything else by those yardsticks. I did, however, need to get the camera set up and start learning how to use it so I wouldn’t be wasting valuable sunrise or sunset time fumbling around the controls during its use while on vacation.
I’ve got several reasons for adding this camera to my Canon family:
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my Canons. I love Canon glass and I love my 1DX and 5DSRs. That won’t change. The Pentax 645z is like the rich aunt coming to live with the family, promising to buy a new house of the family’s choice, for the family’s use in perpetuity.
Below are my first thoughts of the camera right out of the box and after a couple of very short photo sessions: a morning session at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, and a session at my DIY studio in my apartment.
Out of the box:
Regarding quality, I LOVE the results from this camera. Below are some landscape and studio self-portraits captured using each of the focal lengths on my lenses. The dynamic range is amazing, as is the ability to crop to 100% and still get awesome resolution.
Sunrise over Big Slough in Brazoia National Wildlife Refuge (28-45mm zoom at the 28mm focal length)
The boardwalk over Big Slough at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (28mm focal length cropped)
The boardwalk over Big Slough at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge (28-45mm zoom lens at the 45mm focal length)
The Brazoria NWR trip was the very first time I’d used this camera and lenses, and of course I’d forgotten the AF adjustment settings for the zoom lens focal lengths. So I messed around with the adjustment there at the refuge, not really knowing if I’d applied the right settings (I had not). Thankfully, these zoom lens shots still look pretty good, as long as you don’t zoom in 100% on those two black-bellied whistling ducks perched on the railing way in the background.
Taken with the 55mm lens
Taken with the 28-45mm zoom at the 45mm focal length
Taken with the 28-45mm zoom lens at the 28mm focal length with the top and sides cropped.
Taken with the 28-45mm zoom lens at the 28mm focal length with the camera and tripod moved much closer to the subject and the top and a bit of the sides cropped off.
These self-portraits were all edited with some very minor sharpening applied. The 100% crop below of the second image in the series above shot using the 45mm focal length, however, is the original with no sharpening applied.
I’ll be taking this camera and the lenses (as well as my Canons) along for my Mt. Rainier National Park and Glacier National Park trips this year. I am super-excited about this and will, of course, share my thoughts and images here. I especially want to see just how well this medium format camera does with high-ISO environments, like night photography and other general low-light conditions.
Sunrise over the glassine water of Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, Montana
I check the National Parks Traveler every day to see what new articles have been published. One of the articles this morning deals with what other well-known authors, journalists, filmmakers, and other national park-related entities have to say about this non-profit, editorially-independent website.
I know, it sounds almost like overkill, doesn’t it: 3 posts in a single May morning about the National Parks Traveler. Well, I’m proud of this site and my photographic and journalistic contributions to this site and want to share that other well-knowns have the same opinion.
Click on the photo to be taken to the article.