Aug 23 2014

Road trip landscapes in Black and White

While I primarily shoot colour film over black and white and I also prefer to see most digital pictures in colour, some landscapes seem to just look better in black and white.  Whether that is because my idea of the wilderness is  filtered through the historical language of photography.  A language where the landscapes of the West are portrayed in grandeur and black and white, or that  perhaps there is some reason we prefer the contrast that colour images lack in these circumstances.  What ever the reason, I have chosen to convert these images into different shades of grey and prefer them that way.  These were all taken using the incredible Pentax K-3 DSLR which provides more detail than I have ever been able to capture before.


Feb 15 2014

Pentax K-3 Timelapse (Interval Movie Mode)

I did a test of the Interval Movie mode of the Pentax K-3.  This is where you set the camera to record for a set period of time taking pictures at intervals you also set and then it automatically builds them into a movie file.  In this case I set it to record in full HD, even though 4K is an option but I don’t actually have anything to view a 4K file on and I’m not sure if my current software can handle them.  It was an interesting test and I learned a few things I will share.

Narcissus Timelapse from Wallace Ross on Vimeo.

Things I learned:

1.  One image every 30 seconds is unnecessarily often for flowers.  (the video is sped up) maybe 1 every 2 minutes would have worked here even 1 every 5min for a longer period.

2. Even though most of the light was from the fluorescent lights in the room there was a lot of variation from the light coming from a small window.

3. A fully charged battery with the 3 second review set can run the set up for about 5 hours.  (Next time I will turn the rear display completely off)

4. If you don’t want the flowers to open up before you even begin don’t bring them into a warm house.

5. While the top LCD provides some basic shooting parameters and battery level a count down timer or frame counter would be a great addition if possible.

I look forward to trying this again its a very different process than taking a single still image but it is made very easy by the Pentax K-3.  And if you’re wondering I put the music together using Sony Acid Express.



Oct 31 2013

Pentax K-3 first impressions


Despite how much I enjoy shooting film and using older cameras there is a part of me that enjoys new technology as well.  My primary DSLR up until now has been the 2009 Pentax K-7 but I’ve also been waiting for what I felt was enough of a technological advance to spur an upgrade.  The release of the Pentax K-3 appeared to be the progress I had been waiting for so I pre-ordered it as soon as it was announced.  Today I received the camera and have had a brief time shooting with it.  One of the immediately apparent differences with the new camera over the K-7/K-5,K5II models is the method of making changes to the autofocus selections.  Previously it was a 3 position switch (Manual,continuous AF,AF Single) this has been replaced with a 2 position switch between AF and Manual and the addition of a button.  I can not stress enough what an improvement this is.  While pressing the button and turning the front control dial you can select the type of autofocus you want to use and the rear wheel changes the parameters such as the number of focus points, from 27 to zone to spot also when set to select the indicator of focus points on the rear LCD enlarges and the menu buttons can be used to move the point around.  There are more parameters to describe and it is simpler in operation than my feeble attempt to describe it conveys, but it works well and is very intuitive.

There is also a marked improvement in the focus speed and accuracy over my previous camera but I may leave that to others to quantify it as most people will want to compare it to the Pentax K-5II DSLR.

One thing I never saw mentioned and is new to me is that when zooming in playback it lets you know when you are at 100% zoom a nice touch when checking your images.

Another surprise is how much quieter the shutter is and that is despite the K-7 already being incredibly quite.  I will have more to say after I’ve had more time with the camera so for now here are some of the first images I’ve taken with the Pentax K-3.


Pentax K-3 200 ISO 1/80 f3.5 (SMC  Pentax-DA 1:2.8 35mm macro Limited)


100% crop from above image.


Pentax K-3 400 ISO 1/50 f6.3 (SMC Pentax DA 18-55 AL WR)


100% crop from above image


Pentax K-3 1600 ISO 1/200 f5.6 (SMC  Pentax-DA 1:2.8 35mm macro Limited)


100 % crop from image above Lightroom Noise reduction Luimnance +24, Color +20


Pentax K-3 800 ISO 1/50 f7.1 (SMC  Pentax-DA 1:2.8 35mm macro Limited)


100 % crop from image above Lightroom Noise reduction Luimnance +24, Color +15


Pentax K-3 200 ISO 1/125 f7.1 (SMC A 70-210)


100% crop of above image.

Again my initial impression is a very positive one with all around performace improvements over the K-7 especially with higher ISO’s.  In fact here is a shot at 12800  ISO with a little noise reduction in Lightroom, a full stop higher than the K-7 goes let alone performs at.