I am preparing for a trip to southern Africa in a few weeks and decided to add the Laowa 7.5mm f2.0 fisheye lens by 7 Artisans to my lens collection primarily to attempt some astrophotography and because the price was really attractive. My initial impressions of the lens are very favorable, it is well-made, small and fairly light. The Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT is the widest f/2 rectilinear lens ever designed for Micro Four Thirds Cameras. Despite the extreme specifications, Venus Optics has successfully minimized the weight of the lens to a less than 200g (7 oz) and 55mm (2.1 in) long. It has a 110 degree view and it is a manual lens requiring manual focus and aperture adjustments. I thought I would share some photographs and techniques using this lens on my Lumix GX8 camera.
Crystal Cave is a marble karst cave within Sequoia National Park, in the western Sierra Nevada of California. It is one of at least 240 known caves in Sequoia National Park. Crystal Cave is in the Giant Forest area, between the Ash Mountain entrance of the park and the Giant Forest museum. The cave is a constant 48 °F (9 °C). It is accessible by Park Service guided tours only. Tickets are not sold on-site, but must be bought at the Foothills or Lodgepole Visitor Center. The study of karst is considered of prime importance in petroleum geology since as much as 50% of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves are hosted in porous karst systems.
Even though it is summer for most of the nation, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains it is still cool and for all intents and purposes late spring, with temperatures in the 70s. Wildflowers are abundant and small streams and waterfalls are everywhere as runoff from the snowpack continues. Depending on the elevation, spring in Sequoia National Park generally lasts from April to mid-June. Early spring begins to bring warmer temperatures, but the sequoia groves are often still filled with snow. Fortunately, when we visited in June, the snow was gone and the wildflowers were in bloom with no snow.
I just love it when the tomatoes come in at the beginning of spring. My little garden is brimming with tomatoes and I grow basil, cilantro and oregano as well. Naturally I grow the tomatoes to eat them and I thought I would share my thoughts on preparing a truly delicious tomato salad.
Since I visited Washington DC a couple of years ago, I collected a number of photographs of iconic Washington buildings and memorials. While my collection might not be the typical sights, I thought I would share them here. I would hope in this time of deep divisions in the country, these images of Washington DC will remind us of our common heritage. I am aware that many important memorials are not recognized and recorded, these are my memories of our country’s capital.
If you’re looking for a remote location with amazing rock colors and formations and little foot traffic, then White Pocket is the perfect place. Now this place isn’t for the unprepared. You will need to have a 4WD vehicle, preferably with high clearance. You’ll be driving through deep sandy roads for at least an hour and a half off the main House Rock Valley Road. Be sure to check the current conditions of the road at the BLM Office located at 745 East Highway 89. This is a great trip to do in conjunction with the Wave or Buckskin Gulch. Honestly, it was a cloudy day, not the best to bring out the colors of the location but as a photographer, you take what you get.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, scenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as “Upper Antelope Canyon” or “The Crack”; and “Antelope Canyon” or “The Corkscrew”. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means “the place where water runs through rocks”. Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí (advertised as “Hasdestwazi” by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or “spiral rock arches”. Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. Both canyons are photographic icons, recorded by countless photographers, both for their beauty and the constantly changing light and colors.
Since photography is a large part of this website I thought I would write some posts on the equipment and techniques I use to create these photos. Getting photos in sharp focus is one of the most important aspects of photography. Unfortunately, the laws of physics do not always allow all parts of the image to be in focus at the same time. This is especially true in close up (macro) photography in which we take photos of small objects like insects or flowers. Focus stacking is a technique to get the whole photograph in focus. This technique is capable of producing remarkable images, like the one above, that could not have been created in any other way. It is another valuable tool for photographers striving to create that “perfect” image.
Since this was a wet spring in California, we decided to visit the poppy reserve in Antelope Valley. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a state-protected reserve of California, USA, harboring the most consistent blooms of California poppies, the state flower. The reserve is located in the rural westside of Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, 15 miles (24 km) west of Lancaster and about 35 miles from Santa Clarita. The reserve is at an elevation ranging from 2,600 to 3,000 feet (790 to 910 m) above sea level in the Mojave Desert climate zone. The intense blooming season for the California poppy falls usually within late winter to early spring, during the months of mid-February through mid-May. Blooming seasons are dependent on the amount of rainfall during the winter to early spring seasons. Within the reserve, there are 7 miles (11 km) of trails, including a paved section for wheelchair access, which traverse through the poppy fields.
Since we were in Santa Clarita for the past two weeks, caring for our grandson, we decided to visit the Angeles National Forest to see the wildflowers. The Angeles National Forest (ANF) of the U.S. Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains, primarily within Los Angeles County in southern California. The ANF manages a majority of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The San Gabriel Forest Reserve was established on December 20, 1892, the San Bernardino Forest Reserve on February 25, 1893, and the Santa Barbara Forest Reserve on December 22, 1903. They became National Forests on March 4, 1907, and they were combined on July 1, 1908, with all of the San Bernardino forest and portions of San Gabriel forest and Santa Barbara forest composing the new Angeles National Forest. On September 30, 1925, portions of the Angeles National Forest and the Cleveland National Forest were detached to re-establish the San Bernardino National Forest. Angeles National Forest is registered as California Historical Landmark, for being the first National Forest in the state.