Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ansel Comes To The Desert

If you're in the Phoenix, Arizona area the Phoenix Art Museum has a new exhibit running from now until February 4, 2007. Modern by Nature: Ansel Adams in the 1930s inaugurates the Museum’s new Norton photography gallery. The exhibition includes 62 amazing photographs from a single decade out of his sixty year career. If you’ve never seen Ansel Adams prints on display in a museum setting, you will not want to miss this exhibit. The link above provides more information as well as museum location and hours.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sony A100 Goes For A Walk

I recently joined the one percent of Grand Canyon visitors that actually hike to the bottom of the canyon. Most folks don’t go all the way to the bottom, in this instance a seven mile hike down South Kaibab trail and ten miles up on Bright Angel Trail. I took my recently acquired Sony Alpha 100 out for its first adventure trip and it performed very well. An important aspect of hiking the canyon is to pack as little as possible, so I restricted myself to the camera body, 18-70mm kit lens and the classic Minolta Maxxum 70-210mm f4 lens, which gave me a 105-315mm range on the digital Alpha 100. A standard tripod was out of the question, but my small monopod was an acceptable accessory to carry on this trip. This hike put the in-camera, anti-shake feature of the A100 to the test. It worked well for the inevitable hand-held, low light shots. This first example I uses the 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 Sony kit lens (rebadged Minolta lens.)

The second example features the Maxxum 70-210mm f4. The A100 is just so fun and easy to use. Controls and menus are accessible quickly, image quality is excellent, and the LCD is large enough to get a good grasp of the exposure…but always look at the histogram. Also I used the popular cheating technique of bracketing. It will be a while before I hike back down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon so I wanted to ensure I captured correctly exposed images. Also, since I went with five friends, I didn’t want to hold things up too much while taking photos on the way down or back up. Anti-shake and bracketing greatly improved my ability to quickly compose, expose and capture the beauty of the Grand Canyon. As a long-time Minolta Maxxum user I can see why Popular Photography and Imaging magazine chose the Sony Alpha 100 as their DSLR of the year for 2006.

Popular Fuji Slide Film To Return, Sort Of...

Fuji has announced they will introduce a color slide film similar to their popular but discontinued Fujichrome Velvia 50. Here is the article from PopPhoto.com.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Blast From The Past

Being a long time Minolta shooter I finally picked up the very popular Minolta Maxxum 70-210mm f4 lens. What surprised me the most about this pristine lens was picking it up at a local camera store for about fifty bucks less than what they are currently going for on EBay. With the handing over of Konica Minolta’s camera division to Sony, these classic lenses seem to have increased in price within the online resale world. The 70-210mm f4 known by many as the ‘beer can’ is one sharp lens. Big, but sharp; more like a keg then a ‘can’. F4 throughout the focal length, it’s a bit bulky but well worth hauling around. I’ve placed it next to the exceptional 18-70mm kit lens that comes with the Sony Alpha 100 to compare size."

The lens was put to the test at a recent youth soccer game and I found it quite pleasant to use despite its size. Of course a monopod helped. On the Alpha there is the added benefit of gained focal length increasing to around 105-300mm, perfect for sideline shooting. This example was taken wide open at f4 with a focal length around 250mm (digital equivalent). The 10mp sensor of the Alpha really makes this lens a joy to use. The sturdy construction and wide focus grip allow for quick adjustments and comfortable handling of this lens. When using it in manual focus mode, however the narrow focus ring at the front of the lens is a bit annoying. I would have liked a wider ring for better gripping.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Website Updated

We have finally reworked http://www.ctzphoto.com/ to emphasize our portfolios rather than settings and classic camera collection. I have come to the conclusion that documenting exposure settings is irrelevant in this type of presentation. In fact, if it wasn’t for my Sony Alpha 100 automatically recording exposure data within the digital file, I wouldn’t have any record of it. I’d rather just concentrate on shooting and getting the end result I want, than waste time writing down exposure settings in a little notebook. I’ll leave that to other more meticulous photographers. In regard to the camera and lens used, it’s a different story. When viewing other online galleries I’d rather know what glass was used than exposure data, especially if the photographer is using a camera I own. A top-of-the-line Nikon can only produce an image as good as the lens attached. Since I’m a Minolta/Sony user I like to see what Minolta or third party lenses were used for specific images. Exposure I can figure out on my own. So our portfolios include camera and lens data only. We will be adding/editing/reorganizing images within these portfolios on a semi-regular basis. Client and personal images are included in these galleries that we believe are now easier to navigate. Thanks for browsing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


CTZphotography.com is undergoing a face lift and will be offline temporarily. Portfolios will be updated and the classic camera collection section will be updated and relocated to http://www.twoliverphoto.com/ since it is my personal obsession.

- TW Oliver