Archive for April, 2009
van dusen gardens, vancouver
It has been a very busy month for me and Resistance almost stopped me from getting to the Van Dusen Gardens for my monthly shoot. I’m glad I made it there though as Spring has firmly taken up residence at the 55 acre garden in the heart of Vancouver. I decided to take only my macro lens with me to do a more direct comparison with the previous post. The difference is very clear; it is worthwhile to drag a macro lens with you if flowers are on your list to shoot.
Normally I only post one image from VDG each month but today I decided to post two and each one has been cropped for a more dramatic effect. What struck me about the two images is how flowers have their own language. In one case Spring is heralded in with a quiet whisper and in the other, a full orchestra announces its arrival. Same camera, same lens but a completely different emotion.
One of the interesting purchases I made in Japan was at the beginning of my trip when on our first day there, I bought a Kenko No. 3 close-up filter at Bic Camera. It was a rather serendipitous find for only US$14. Now this is not to be confused with the close-up lens made by Canon. In fact Bryan Peterson author of the newly released Understanding Close-Up Photography: Creative Close Encounters With or Without a Macro Lens advises against buying this filter in favour of the close-up lens which costs about US$180. Still I had fun with it while in Japan where the culture is built on details and small pleasures.
Billed as a place where one can see “old Japan”, it was more like a place where old Japan meets new Japan. Tour buses drop visitors off daily to visit the temple and shrine but it’s the market where most people worship. You can buy souvenirs and taste some traditional japanese foods and snacks. These images were all taken at the market with the close-up filter. As you can see there are problems with using the filter and that clearly it is no substitute for a macro lens. I will be purchasing the Canon close-up lens and comparing it with this filter in a future post but in the meantime, weigh in and share your thoughts on the close-up filter!
Roppongi Hills was completed in 2003, long after my last visit here fifteen years ago. Built by Japan’s wealthy property magnate, Minoru Mori, the building has been the site of a number of unfortunate accidents and deaths feeding into feng shui beliefs that the location is cursed. None of that seemed apparent as we rode up the elevator to the Observation Deck on the 54th floor.
This was a great opportunity to try out my new Sigma 10 – 20 mm wide angle lens. I have some other views that proved to be just as interesting but for now I wanted to share this one image. Because it was such a grey overcast day, it provided the chance to practice my seldom used HDR skills to produce an image from just one file. Just to refresh, Photomatix can create an HDR image from a single file that does not exceed the normal dynamic range of the camera i.e. usually 5 stops. After the file is converted, you proceed with normal tone-mapping and once that is done, just open up the file in Photoshop to do final adjustments.
Prior to coming here, I did some research and found that there are a number of web sites with HDR images of Japanese scenes. For some reason, these scenes translate well into HDR with an almost cartoon or anime feel to them. Please let me know you think of this one by leaving a comment…thanks.