Three Years

Sometime around today marks three years since I bought my first “serious” camera, the Sony A390.

This photo was taken three years ago today. I look at it now and I wish I would have framed the branches out of the shot and probably opened up the lens more.

DSLR-A390, 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM @55mm & f/13, ISO 100, 1/160s

I have tons I want to post later, but I realized what the day was, and it has been a good three years since. Before I depart, however, I want to share the view I have today at the place I am working.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 (~23/25mm f/2.2), ISO 100, 1/353s

I’m in the building casting a shadow over the stadium. I have a photo taken in the opposite direction. I wish I had a better quality shot, but the point is where I am and not what I am shooting.

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Nokia Lumia 1020 (~23/25mm f/2.2) , ISO 320, 1/60s
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Where’s the Pocket? (Part II)

So last time I was running the numbers, I had a sample of nearly 32000 shots over a 21 month span using my A390, Nex-5, and A77 bodies, with a handful of lenses. I definitely discriminated on focal lengths of prime lenses and on the extreme ends of zoom lenses. I favored my 85mm f/1.4 ZA lens more than 50% of the time, and of focal lengths on Zoom lenses not on the extreme ends, I preferred 90mm first and 250mm second. I also used 200mm on lenses where 200mm wasn’t an extreme end a significant amount.

This photo will help me with front-page formatting. The first table seems to merge with the links on the side.

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This post, I will focus on Aperture. Using the same lens sample, I broke down the apertures and ran numbers on the number of capable lenses, and then I ran numbers on shutter speeds. Excuse the complexity of the table, but once I got started, I couldn’t stop!

The top three rows are bold and italicized.

f #

# lens

# shots

% shots

SS
high

SS low

SS most used

SS most used #

SS 2nd  most used

SS 2nd most used #

Top 2%

1.4

1

5032

15.77%

1/8000s

30s

1/640s

373

1/500s

368

14.73%

1.6

1

155

0.49%

1/8000s

30s

1/200s

17

1/60s

15

20.65%

1.7

1

122

0.38%

1/5000s

1/25s

1/200s

21

1/1600s

19

32.79%

1.8

2

1159

3.63%

1/8000s

1/2s

1/20s

137

1/30s

127

22.78%

2

4

1568

4.92%

1/6400s

6s

1/80s

411

1/100s

89

31.89%

2.2

4

354

1.11%

1/6400s

1/8s

1/80s

65

1/60s

40

29.66%

2.5

4

512

1.60%

1/4000s

1/4s

1/250s*

54

1/60s

53

20.90%

2.8

8

2559

8.02%

1/8000s

30s

1/30s

365

1/60s

187

21.57%

3.2

7

1093

3.43%

1/6400s

30s

1/160s

188

1/250*

97

26.08%

3.5

11

1663

5.21%

1/4000s

30s

1/30s

216

1/80s

146

21.77%

4

14

3937

12.34%

1/8000s

20s

1/250s*

654

1/400s**

618

32.31%

4.5

15

1503

4.71%

1/5000s

30s

1/250s*

284

1/320s

171

30.27%

5

14

1150

3.60%

1/8000s

30s

1/400s**

181

1/320s

121

26.26%

5.6

15

3566

11.18%

1/4000s

30s

1/250s*

490

1/500s

419

25.49%

6.3

16

2714

8.51%

1/8000s

30s

1/250s*

285

1/500s

268

20.38%

7.1

14

490

1.54%

1/2000s

30s

1/500s

66

1/640s

61

25.92%

8

16

1754

5.50%

1/8000s

30s

1/320s

187

1/400s**

182

21.04%

9

15

632

1.98%

1/640s

30s

1/250s*

102

1/400s**

88

30.06%

10

15

357

1.12%

1/1000s

30s

1/400s**

41

1/200s

39

22.41%

11

14

249

0.78%

1/500s

30s

1/160s

26

30s

20

18.47%

13

12

147

0.46%

1/5000s

30s

1/125s

19

1/50s

17

24.49%

14

8

110

0.34%

1/500s

30s

1/60s

29

1/50s

16

40.91%

16

9

97

0.30%

1/500s

30s

1/50s

17

1/30s

12

29.90%

18

6

58

0.18%

1/250s

30s

1/50s

13

1/80s

11

41.38%

20

5

95

0.30%

1/320s

30s

1/60s

18

1/50s

15

34.74%

22

13

742

2.33%

1/8000s

30s

1/30s

97

1/50s

80

23.85%

25

4

17

0.05%

1/100s

1.6s

1/60s

7

1/10s

3

58.82%

29

3

6

0.02%

1/10s

20s

1/10s

3

20s

2

83.33%

32

4

55

0.17%

1/160s

4s

1/4s

20

1/13s

5

45.45%

36

2

5

0.02%

1/400s

15s

All tied

1

All Tied

1

40.00%

ALL

16

31901

100%

1/8000s

30s

1/250s

2951

1/400s

2327

16.54%

The top shutter speed is denoted with one asterisk (1/250s*) and the second most utilized shutter speed is denoted with two asterisks (1/400s**).

I know it is a ton of data, but I think I can pull some significant portions of the data out to help with findings. I found it interesting I didn’t use f/2.8 as much. It is a common aperture and the aperture of a couple of the lenses wide open. One thing I found interesting was the top two values for f/4 were and f/5. higher than the top values for 1.4.

What I wonder about skewing the statistics are the wide open apertures at the extreme ends of the zoom lenses. Some were at f/5.6 and others at f/6.3, both f/5.6 and f/6.3 were 3rd and 4th respectively in the overall aperture totals.

I think a variable which comes into consideration here I am not considering yet is ISO. I use ISO to move the shutter speeds up. I could try to triangulate aperture, shutter speed and ISO, but I am going to just look at the aperture vs. ISO distribution for my 85mm f/1.4 lens which represents more than 50% of my overall clicks.

The distribution of my 85mm f/1.4 wide open was all over the map. I did find the 85mm to be consistent in ISO, however and I outlined the data in the table below:

F# # % ISO High ISO Low Top ISO Top # 2nd ISO 2nd # %ISO
top 2
1.4 5032 30.23% 8000 50 100* 1563 400** 1375 58.39%
1.6 155 0.93% 1600 50 100* 56 200 42 63.23%
1.7 122 0.73% 1600 50 100* 49 50 22 58.20%
2 359 2.16% 1600 50 400** 145 100* 127 75.77%
2.2 220 1.32% 1600 50 100* 95 400** 64 72.27%
2.5 406 2.44% 1600 50 100* 215 200 112 80.54%
2.8 940 5.65% 1600 50 100* 332 400** 280 65.11%
3.2 774 4.65% 1600 50 200 284 100* 186 60.72%
3.5 724 4.35% 1600 50 100* 237 400** 179 57.46%
4 2450 14.72% 1600 50 100* 1171 400** 555 70.45%
4.5 730 4.38% 2500 50 100* 312 400** 139 61.78%
5 625 3.75% 3200 50 100* 236 400** 155 62.56%
5.6 1616 9.71% 1600 50 100* 1000 50 246 77.10%
6.3 716 4.30% 5000 50 100* 269 200 246 71.93%
7.1 227 1.36% 6400 50 100* 137 50 32 74.45%
8 804 4.83% 1600 50 100* 447 400** 173 77.11%
9 296 1.78% 10000 50 80 98 50 92 64.19%
10 158 0.95% 12800 50 100* 84 160 21 66.46%
11 49 0.29% 1600 50 100* 24 400** 11 71.43%
13 49 0.29% 800 50 100* 31 50 7 77.55%
14 57 0.34% 400 50 50 31 100* 20 89.47%
16 26 0.16% 400 50 100* 14 400** 11 96.15%
18 11 0.07% 800 50 100* 8 50 2 90.91%
20 8 0.05% 100 50 100* 6 50 2 100.00%
22 94 0.56% 1000 50 100* 52 50 37 94.68%
TOTAL 16648 100.00% 12800 50 100
6740 400 3451 61.21%

f/1.4, f/4 and f/5.6 took nearly 50% of the clicks overall and the three respectively at ISO 100 took 20% of the overall clicks. Also noteworthy is the usage of f/5.6 and f/6.3 on the 85mm lens versus overall usage (1616/3566, 45.3% and 716/2714, 26.4%).

I know I haven’t mined all of the data and I have left some of the data out on purpose. A loose conclusion can be made here, however and I think it was something I could have predicted. I like my 85mm lens at f/1.4, f/4 and f/5.6 at either ISO 100 or ISO 400. Most surprising are the shutter speed statistics. I would have thought 1/60s would have been higher. It surprises me that 1/250s and 1/400s came out on top.

Overall the shutter speed distribution is all over the board, with no dominant top speed. In fact there is a good distribution for the counts above 1000 clicks. All counts between 1/30s and 1/640s are represented in the top 13 except for 1/40s.

Speed Clicks %total
1/250s 2951 9.25%
1/400s 2327 7.29%
1/80s 2153 6.75%
1/500s 1860 5.83%
1/320s 1858 5.82%
1/125s 1738 5.45%
1/160s 1674 5.25%
1/60s 1663 5.21%
1/30s 1500 4.70%
1/100s 1450 4.55%
1/200s 1434 4.50%
1/640s 1263 3.96%
1/50s 1151 3.61%
Top 13 total 23022 72.17%

It surprises me how much 1/80s is used and how little 1/320s isn’t used considering 1/250s and 1/400s are.

I could go on for days, but I also need to start taking my sample apart. I know there are throwaways or test shots in this data. I know there are duplicates or bursts in here where a lot of the shots look the same. I think I can live with 85mm f/1.4, ISO 100, 1/250s as my pocket for now, but I need to take more things into account. That particular combination only accounts for 129 shots. My favorite hockey combination of 85mm, f/4, 1/400, ISO 400 has 426 shots in comparison. Maybe it isn’t surprising 1/400s was up toward the top, Hockey is faster which means more shot bursts. This game-winning overtime goal was cropped out of a shot using the f/4, 1/400, ISO 400 combo.

DSC03017a

There are definitely things I am not taking into consideration. 85mm f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 100 has 337 shots. I can break down individual combinations later. I really need to stop before I can’t post anymore. Until then, I give you my favorite shot with the 85mm, f/1.4, 1/250s, ISO 100 combo.

DSC09417

I sent my A77 in for repair this morning and I am “forced” to use the A900. I can see a post or two in my future about my A900 experience.

Four photographic challenges…

I have not one, not two, not three, but four photographic challenges coming to me starting tomorrow and extending through Sunday.

1. My wife has her best friend, Meg, a breast cancer survivor, in town this week with family, including her new baby. Yes, not only did Meg have breast cancer, but she was pregnant at the same time! I have the new baby, as well as their two older children to shoot. Meg’s son, Nathan is pictured below in one of my all-time favorite shots. I foresee more 85mm f/1.4 ZA than anything else here.

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2. My son has a soccer game and I have to start putting the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM lens to the test. Really I’ll be putting the whole system to the test. Poorly lit soccer field at night and I am going to bring only the 70-300 and try to stay away from my 85mm f/1.4. I may be pushing ISO higher than I am comfortable with.

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3. My family is going with Meg’s family to the Charlotte Race for the Cure. My wife’s sorority is a major sponsor of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, her Alumnae chapter usually has a full contingent at the Race for the Cure event, and my wife’s best friend Meg will be there as a first-year survivor. A lot of pink balloons with downtown Charlotte as the backdrop. I am thinking I am going to see a mix of the 24mm f/2 ZA SSM and the 70-300 G. Last year I shot with my Nex-5 and my 16mm lens. I was still learning…

SONY DSC

4. I am going to the NASCAR race at Talladega. I like shooting at NASCAR races because the cars have vibrant colors, they go really fast, and you get really good access. I’ve never gotten to go to a race and shoot how I want to, however, as I’ve always had one of my kids with me. This time I am going to have an adult friend with me. I haven’t been to a NASCAR race since August of last year, and I haven’t been to a big speedway since May 2011, and I’ve never been to Talladega, the biggest speedway NASCAR goes to. I am going to put my A77 and 70-300G to the test in 12 FPS mode. Talladega is the fastest track NASCAR runs, and that’s after they restrict the horsepower to slow the cars down. The packs will be going upward of 205 miles an hour average. My seats are going to be better than they were at Charlotte when I took the shot below, my equipment is orders of magnitude better, and the sun will be out. And Talladega is more than a mile longer than Charlotte at 2.66 miles. Hopefully all of these variables will work in my favor.

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So my challenges are set. I probably won’t update for a couple of days as I won’t have my laptop with me. I hope to come back with good samples!

Until next time…

Prime Time! Why I carry the equipment I carry.

In my last post, How did I get in this dilemma?, I mentioned my trip to Europe with my wife. I brought a Sony Nex-5 with a 16mm f/2.8 lens and that was it. Eight days in Europe; Lisbon, Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Naples, and Palma with one wide prime lens. I learned and became very comfortable with a very valuable concept.

I don’t need a zoom lens.

Shortly after the Europe trip, I got rid of my zoom lenses. I had the kit lens which came with my A390, the standard 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, an old Minolta Beercan lens 70-210mm f/4, and a lens I picked up at a garage sale a Quantaray (Sigma) 75-300mm f/4.5-6.3. All of them sold. I was down to three inexpensive primes on my A390, the 30mm f/2.8 Macro, the 35mm f/1.8 and the 50mm f/1.8. And on my Nex-5 I had the 16mm f/2.8.

Andratx

This photo was taken in Andratx in Mallorca. (Sony Nex-5, 16mm f/2.8 lens)

I learned if I wanted to get closer, I could crop or walk closer. If I needed something wider, I could stitch or walk further away. When the A77 came out I sold the Nex-5 and the 16mm lens, the A390 and the three primes. The money I raised covered the A77 and an 85mm f/1.4 lens. I had been juggling used and cheap lenses for ten months when I A77 + 85mm combo. For the next ten months, 90% of my shots have been with this combination. Since then I acquired a 600mm mirror lens really cheap which I use to shoot the moon, and I have experimented with other lenses, the latest being a 24mm f/2 lens. The good thing about camera lenses is they don’t depreciate much if you take care of them. I took an accumulative $28 loss on the 30mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.8, and 50mm f/1.8. I made money on the Minolta Beercan and the Quantaray Zoom at the end of the day. Camera equipment in general depreciates well. I sold the A390 body and kit lens at a $75 loss and the Nex-5 and 16mm lens at a $50 loss.

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Another shot of the moon. (Sony A77, Sigma 600mm f/8 mirror lens)

I travel a lot. In a one year span from mid-January 2011 to mid-January 2012 I visited 20 of the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Thailand, and Malaysia. I really have to carefully choose the equipment in my bag. If I acquire a new lens, if I want to keep it in my bag I need to sell or shelf another to make room.

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This monkey really liked coconut. I took this in Malaysia. (Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

Right now, in my bag I have the Sony Alpha A77 Digital SLT with an 85mm f/1.4 lens, a B+W XSPro UV filter, a 24mm f/2 lens, a Minolta 3600 HS flash, a SanDisk 32GB ExtremePro SDHC, battery charger, extra battery, and a Giotto’s rocket blower. I also carry various other little supplies including LCD wipes, sensor swabs, cotton swabs, white balance cards, and an extra 16GB SanDisk 16GB ExtremePro SDHC in a small tin. This is to supply my habit. I also have to carry a laptop, power supply, cell phone charger, cell phone, and anything else I am bringing with me. So minimizing the load I am carrying is crucial.

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(Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

Why do I carry the equipment I carry? I wanted the Sony Alpha A77 for the sheer speed. It is capable of shooting 12 frames per second in a single burst of 24.3 Megapixel RAW+JPEG files at 30-35 MB per shot. It does continuous bursts of 6-8 shots without a dedicated mode. The A77 had the lens versatility I had in the A390 and some of the key features which attracted me to the Nex-5. It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Once you get to the 12th or 13th shot in the large burst, the buffer fills up and requires a second or two to clear. This is why it is essential to have the fastest SDHC on the market with the SanDisk ExtremePro at 95 mb/s. There is one other camera on the non-Sony DSLR market capable of the speed the A77 has and it costs 4-5 times more. The A77 also does full HD 1080 60p video with autofocus. The only non-Sony DSLR better at video costs nearly ten times as much.

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I was in the third deck when I took this game-winning overtime goal. (Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

I can shoot my kids in bursts and chances are, one or two will turn out how I want.

 

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Hopefully there aren’t bills in there. (Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

I decided on the 85mm lens as it was better quality-wise than the cheaper 50mm f/1.8 I had, and the 50mm f/1.4 on the market. I was a bit uneasy about 85mm on an APS-C body as it was much longer than I was used to in the 50mm lens. My goals in acquiring the 85mm lens were simple; it needed to be bright, it needed to fit on a full-frame body if I ever upgraded, and it needed to review well.

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My favorite thing to do is shoot random flowers and plants, especially exotic locations, like this in Fajardo, Puerto Rico (Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

The 85mm lens I acquired is the best lens I have ever shot with. It does precisely what I wanted, without me really knowing yet what I wanted. It looks good wide open. It is sharp enough to crop details out from shots where I would have thought I needed something longer. The 24.3 MP APS-C sensor on the A77 has to have a good lens to account for the pixel density. The 85mm f/1.4 ZA the bill. It’s not without fault. It uses a screw-driven autofocus, which is louder and a tad slower than the Smooth Automatic Motor or Super Sonic Wave Motor lenses. Wide open at f/1.4 in backlit situations it allows some Chromatic Aberration to creep in to the shot. The sharpness of the lens makes up for the shortfall.

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My little girl is my most cooperative subject. She dresses up for me. (Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

With the A77 + 85mm combo, I have shot tens of thousands of frames. I have captured all three of my kids looking and smiling. I have gotten hockey pucks hitting posts and crossing goal lines at the exact moment they hit or crossed more than once each at different games in different countries. I shot a monkey 5 feet away and the shot has made its way into a coffee table book being sold for charity. And I finally got shots of my wife. 

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My beautiful wife at El Morro. (Sony A77, 85mm f/1.4 lens)

My latest lens excursion is the 24mm f/2. It works out to be a 36mm equivalent on the APS-C sensor, so it is close to the classic 35mm focal length. The jury is still out. I am still getting a feel for it. It seems like a good lens, but I always find myself getting back to the 85mm lens. Definitely a habit I need to break.

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The colors captured by the new 24mm f/2 lens are good, that’s for sure. (Sony A77, 24mm f/2 lens)

So what about software? That is a story for my next post.

How did I get in this dilemma?

I’ve always enjoyed photography, at least as long as I can remember being able to use a camera. My first experiences with photography, except for those where my parents didn’t let me play with their film camera with film in it, were with the little cardboard cameras you could buy at drug stores and return the entire camera when you were finished to get developed. My first camera which was actually mine was actually a digital camera. A 1.2 Megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC-S30 I got while I was in college as a gift.

I was an amateur webpage developer in college, I built pages designed to load quickly on 56K modem connections. So the Cybershot was stuck in 640×480 mode. I estimate I took over a hundred thousand shots with the camera. It witnessed a number of events in college, it produced photos which became fraternity rush posters, and many found their way on to various web sites. It was present at my job interviews, college graduation, my wedding, as well as my first and second child’s birth. In 2004 I took my wife and two young children to Colorado, where we visited Cripple Creek, an old mining town now home to a number of casinos. In getting my daughter in her stroller, the Cybershot fell out of the bag it was in and hit the concrete. Goodbye first camera.

Afterward, it seemed like every other holiday my wife or I received a new camera. We had Canons, Nikons, random off-brand digitals, even a Hewlett-Packard. Nothing took pictures like the Sony Cybershot. Hindsight being 20-20, I could have gone to eBay and found the same Cybershot model when the first one was broken. It probably would have saved me a fortune. Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this, either, had I gone down the path I did.

My wife Leilani asked for “a real camera” in 2006 or 2007 where she wanted it to be hers (and not used by anyone other than her). I was a bit of a lush when it comes to holiday spending, but usually in volume of gifts and not in quality. The first attempt I got her a 35mm film Canon point and shoot. She used it to shoot about a half dozen rolls of film. The next year I spent about $250 on a Canon Powershot. It never really did what she wanted. It took me a couple years to clue in. My wife also wanted a hobby that was all hers, and didn’t want me to pursue the same one. Unfair? Maybe. I understand now where she came from then, though I selfishly didn’t get understand it or like it at the time. Probably still don’t like it to a certain degree, but I understand regardless. I will say, although I may have acted selfishly, I don’t regret it. I regret being deceptive, which I will explain a bit in detail later, but I don’t regret taking on the hobby. 

In December 2010 I bit the bullet and bought my wife a Canon Rebel XS. I was absolutely thrilled with the results it produced. As an always-learning husband I knew better than to buy myself a camera alongside buying hers. My wife has never been okay with me buying her a gift and me buying the same one for myself. I waited about three weeks, maybe four before I bought myself a DSLR. I hid it from my wife for as long as I had it.

It was January 2011. My adopted brother Ernie was headed to Afghanistan and I used some of the airline miles I had accrued from travelling for work to surprise him at my going away party. I wanted to take my wife’s new camera but I was too scared to ask. So I went to Best Buy and bought the Sony Alpha A390 before going to the airport. It met the criteria I was looking for. It was the least expensive Sony they had. Little did I know, the money I spent that day would end up becoming something which would consume a good amount of my free time.

Pikes Peak, cloudy day

One of the first photographs from my A390 in Colorado

How did I hide a DSLR from my wife? I travelled a ton that year. After visiting Ernie in Colorado, I went to 20 different United States, Sweden and Denmark. Photography as a hobby became what I did in my downtime on the road. The second or third week I had the DSLR I was in Oklahoma City and it snowed. My customer’s site was snowed out and the city was effectively shut down. I spent the day taking pictures of water coming out of the hotel water faucet. When I went somewhere new I would try to take pictures of skylines, or water, or trees – really anything different. I was challenged, I loved the results but I was never fully satisfied, either. It was the pursuit of the perfect shot. I didn’t know how to use my DSLR at first. I look back and the shots had horrific white balance, the ISO was too high or something else was wrong. I was still learning but the results were still better than I could get on my cell phone or my point and shoot camera.

Bouncing water

A photo of water I took snowed-in at Oklahoma City.
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Photographed in Kosta, Sweden.

My next challenge came in June 2011, just 5 months later. My wife and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary (SIDENOTE: Yes, we had been married 10 years and I hadn’t learned to not hide stuff from my wife. We’re past 11 and I am getting better, I promise. I’m still learning!) and we were going on a cruise in Europe. I certainly could not go on a cruise or Europe without my camera! My wife would have hers, but I needed to get one that was different and did different things hers did so she wouldn’t think I was doing the same things. So I used some of the reward points I had accrued to purchase a Sony Nex-5 and I took it to Europe. My wife was not happy about me having a camera, certainly not one better than the one she had. I explained to her it did different things, but wasn’t better. I had a 16mm lens, she had two zoom lenses – an 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm. Big difference. She could zoom in, while I was capturing high resolution wide angle shots. It allowed me to take pictures in Europe and it was easier to ask forgiveness than it was to ask permission.

After going to Europe, I had a couple interesting work assignments, including another trip to Denmark and Sweden. And I had two really good camera bodies in the A390 and the Nex-5. The A390 was good for framing shots, and I had acquired a couple of cheap prime lenses and a couple of old Minolta zoom lenses off of eBay. The Nex-5 was portable and had a couple of really neat features, it filmed HD movies and did stitch panoramas. In September 2011, Sony announced the A77. It did everything the A390 did and had the same features the Nex-5 had I liked. So I justified the purchase of the A77 by selling the A390 and the Nex-5. I received the A77 in November and didn’t look back. My wife didn’t know fully about it until earlier this year.

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This is one of my favorite non-human or animal subjects, a Japanese maple.

Let me get this perfectly straight. I’m not proud of the fact I hid these things from my wife. It was only a month or two ago I really got from her why she would be/was angry at me for picking up photography as a hobby. As much as I disagree and don’t like it, I understand where she’s coming from. I hope one day she’ll have the hobby alongside me, rather than parallel to me. As mad as she probably still is at me, I hope eventually she will see past it as I think she’s naturally better than I am and I know I could learn from her. I get where she’s coming from. I am a highly technical person and I pick up the complexities of camera quickly, which I imagine is intimidating. I can fly in the editing software. She wants to figure it out for herself, at her own pace, and certainly not have me show her. I also have the benefit of time. When I am on the road, I have downtime. Her job gets harder when I am on the road. When the kids are in school, she’s working, doing volunteer work, or cleaning the house. When the kids are home, she’s keeping them out of trouble, helping with homework, and getting them to do their chores. She likes to unwind at night. I like to take pictures of the moon.

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The moon.

As an artist, the most frustrating thing about my wife not knowing about my passion for photography was she was my most desired subject. My wife is beautiful. I really like photographing her. My second favorite subject, or the three little ones tied for second favorite had to fill the void for a very long time.

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My amazing wife, Leilani.

Photography fulfills a couple of things I need. First and foremost, it keeps me busy and gives me something to do. Secondly, I am a technical person, I work with computers for a living and I have a Mathematics degree. The technical details when it comes to focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, color temperature and aesthetic details like the rule of thirds scratch a strange itch I have to use qualitative data to solve a quantitative problem. I’m never fully satisfied with any of my pictures and I am always looking for something better. Third, I am a technology junkie. No explanation needed. Finally, I find post-processing therapeutic. So much so, I rarely watch television when I am on the road. I spend a lot of my time fixing old photographs when I am not taking new ones.

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My wife and oldest son.

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My three kids!

I still have a ton to learn, and I feel like my approach is one many others strive to take. I don’t know if I can provide any value above and beyond the plethora of sites out there, but if I can strike up one conversation or give someone one inspiration to try something different, or maybe if there is a way I can explain something so someone can understand it differently, my time here will not be ill spent.

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Seattle, Washington USA

My next post, I will discuss the equipment I carry and the reason and rationale for carrying it. Until then, thank you for reading this far, and have a great day!

–Shawn