For Episcopalians in the southeast Sewanee, the home of the University of the South, is considered the “Holy Mountain.” I am spending this year in Nashville and this week took a bit of a retreat to St. Mary’s Sewanee. We have had massive amounts of rain, but before the storms came I was able to take a quick hike out to “Bridal Veil Falls.” I did not have ND filters or a tripod so I do not have any photos of the falls with that smooth, graceful look. Still, I was a nice day to take a hike. This morning, in the fog and rain, I took a few shots with the iPhone 7 plus. A remarkably good camera as well. I have added those at the end.
Taking pictures of a concert aren’t easy. It requires fast glass and access. Recently I have met some wonderful people who just happen to be incredible musicians. SM invited me to a gig for the Beattles cover band he is a part of, SixtyFour. It was a small venue, a local wings bar, and a fun crowd of the older generation who danced to the tunes of their youth. The lighting was good, but not great. Once thing I have found is that the multicolor lights and various textures and elements often on a stage can be distracting. Solution: convert to black and white. For example, this is a nice image in color. Steve is crisp and clear, the Corona neon looks nice, and overall not a bad image.
But in B&W it has mood and character that the color just doesn’t have.
In the end, it is personal choice, but I like the black and white so here is a selection from the evening.
UPDATE: I spotted a hummingbird from a long way off. Take a look at the uncropped and cropped photos. Not bad. Remember this is with a D810 and the 200-500, handheld.
Yesterday the Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6E arrived and it seems like suddenly all the critters in the backyard disappeared! There will be a lot of experimenting to get used to it and find the best settings for various situations. I started this morning with a few shots of the dog and then, through a window, I managed to get this squirrel with a nut in its mouth running across the yard. So, early trials but it is a very solid lens and a great value.
This weekend was the fourth running of the US Grand Prix in Austin, TX. I joined two close friends for an incredible weekend. Wet, but incredible. We sat through a torrential downpour for the UT game, they beat K State fairly convincingly (if you ignore the second and third quarters) and Sunday morning we headed out early to catch the qualifying round that was cancelled from the day before and finally at 2 PM the race would get underway. Assuming, of course, that the rain would stop.
Regarding camera gear, I rented the Sigma 150-600, f5-6.3. It is a heavy, solid lens in every sens of the term. Very fast focusing and quiet. But I did not have a lot of time to play with it before the race. I may not have gotten the best out of it but I used it well! It certainly was much better once the sky lightened, the 5-6.3 limitation is just that with overcast or low levels of light. I have over 1200 images to review, so here are just a couple for now.
Today, in an effort to escape the 100º heat in Freiburg we drove up to Schluchsee, a beautiful lake in the Schwarzwald. What I did not expect was the Pfarrkirche St. Nikolaus. From the outside it appears a fairly traditional looking church, with a large wooden structure. The first hint of something different is the sculpture out front, “Kinderreigen.” It is four children holding hands going around a mitre and staff. The sanctuary itself is a gorgeous work of modern sacred art.
Now while I love modern architecture and like a lot of modern art and I have seen some of the most amazing modern sacred art rarely have I ever seen it work in a church or worship space. Usually it is too brutal and chilling, rather than inviting and affirming as I believe a place of worship should be. This church was very different. So far as I could tell almost all (if not all?) the work was done by Helmut Lutz, a native Freiburger, who did der Kreuzweg, the “Stations of the Cross.” I was only able to capture a few of them with anything like the power and energy of the originals. He clearly also did the altar pieces and even the chairs for the ministers.
While there I also lit a candle for Mack.
It was a beautiful, quiet and reflective space, made all the more meaningful due to the unique Kruezweg. If we had a car longer I would go back again.
Every year I take a few shots of our ornaments, trying different things. This year I decided to be very mundane, I simply set up the tripod and tweaked aperture, ISO, and speed. This is the best way to learn, after all. I am still learning, in fact, my way around the D810 and I have to say, its ability to capture so much data, allowing one to pull out almost endless shadows in post, is simply amazing. Here a very few images. When I have time I may set a holiday task of taking a picture of all our favorite ornaments.
I was invited by Athletics to be “Guest Coach” for a game and chose Maryland. It was a cold and blustery day, gray with occasional sunshine. An interesting experience for me, to be sure, sitting in on team meetings and meals over Friday and Saturday. Photographically, I borrowed a friend’s D300 with grip in order to get the greater frames per second. The sensor is not as good as the D7000, but I hoped the FPS would outweigh that. And I think it would have if I had been more comfortable with the set up. These shots aren’t too bad, but I lost focus on many, just simple user error. It is great to have that frame rate though!