Having finally ventured into the realm of printing, my most influential accessory is definitely one that I actually haven’t had much of a chance to use yet but one that I know I will be using all the time. Small prints are fine, but being a landscape photographer I love printing LARGE. As great as the Pentax K-5 is, it is not entirely geared toward larger prints. Of course anything looks good from far enough away, but up close many landscape prints that look good on a computer don’t look too great printed. Enter my tripod head setup:
- Sunwayforo DYH-66i
- Sunwayfoto Indexing Rotator DDP-64M
- Sunwayforo Universal L Bracket DPL-03
- Vanguard ABH-120k Ballhead
I really struggled with this one. I have a lot of gear: cameras, lenses, bags, filters, etc. I use it all pretty regularly, and it has all been influential on my photography in some way. However, when it comes down to it, I think the thing that has been most influential is Adobe Lightroom 4. I'm sure many will agree, just as I am sure that many will think I'm crazy.
What is Lightroom?
Lightroom 4 is the latest version of Adobe's workflow application for photographers. Developed as a way to provide for logical, effective, and efficient workflow for ingesting and processing a lot of images. I really fell in love with Lightroom in version 3, but quickly made the upgrade to 4 after I saw what the new version was capable of.
There are two thing you need to know about me. First is that I love adventure. Being primarily a landscape/nature photographer and living in Kansas City leaves me itching to get away sometimes. So, with nowhere in mind I hopped on the highway for about an hour, took a random exit and kept driving until I was lucky enough to come across this field as the sun was setting.
Second is that I am a sucker for unique process techniques. I love pictures that are unique or different than what you would expect. This led me to the processing technique that I used.
Like many, my experiences with photography as a kid and into my early adult years were limited to the point-and-shoot realm. I owned various “decent” cameras over the years and even had the odd photography handbook kicking around, but I still hadn't grasped the essentials of photography. Terms like “depth-of-field”, “aperture”, and “shutter speed” were dizzying and the idea that these elements could work symbiotically to create the stunning beauty that donned the covers of “National Geographic” seemed almost mystical. One surely had to obtain some level of wizardry to take pictures like that! Sure, I longed to take really great shots, but for the most part, I had resigned myself to capturing life's events in the ever proletarian “Automatic Mode”. This all changed in a big way when I obtained my grandfather's legendary Pentax K1000 a few years ago.
Fig 1. My trusty K1000 and an assortment of vintage lenses
First off, let me state that I own a Pentax K-7, K10D and about twenty Pentax and 3rd-party lenses, including M, A and F, FA and DA lenses. But my most-used and trusted piece of equipment is the venerable K10D.
Why? Simple. It works, every time, under any condition. I think of this body as a digital K1000. It fits my hand and performs the task, without fuss or bother, no fancy menus to check off, no time wasted. It is a tool. A reliable tool.
My interest goes back a number of years prior to owning a Pentax K-2000 DSLR. By taking photos of family, my kid and just generally making people smile are some of the reasons I've become even more interested in photography in general.
My K-2000 DSLR as shown in the photo is your standard entry level DSLR camera with wonderful features that make it seem more than any ordinary entry level DSLR.
I had been wanting to shoot something creative for some time. When I came home one day to find that my daughter had baked cinnamon rolls, I knew I had found my subject. I picked this image because it represents the fun you can have in your own house using just ordinary household objects and techniques of a relatively manageable complexity level. My aim was to use some compositing to make the rolls fly and get some feeling of action. I think the result turned out quite well. Why? Because everyone I've shown the image to has asked me questions like "How did you throw them?" or "How many rolls ended of on the floor?".