22 Oct

The 2.8’s Overview: Constant 2.8 Zoom Lenses

In Reviews,Technical by Greg / October 22, 2011 / 0 Comments

The 2.8's by Greg Kemp
The 2.8’s, a photo by Greg Kemp on Flickr.

Constant aperture fast zoom lenses are incredibly important for the way I shoot. Often I find myself needing to shoot in low light scenarios where even at f/2.8 I am shooting at ISO 3200 in order to get an acceptable shutter speed. Without 2.8 zoom lenses this would often be impossible. Sure I can get even better low light performance with prime lenses, but those are too limiting as I usually don’t have time to move around to get wider or narrower shots, so zoom lenses are a necessity for me more often than not.

Another thing that makes 2.8 lenses great is it seems to be the magic number for aperture to get ideal subject isolation with most types of shots. Once you go to F/4 the out of focus areas tend to be much less pronounced, and less depth of field available with faster prime lenses is usually only good for certain types of shots.

As many Nikon and Canon users are quick to point out, Sony makes great camera bodies but the lens options are too limited. This is indeed something Sony really needs to step up their game on to fill in those lens gaps faster, as well as updating old models which are still essentially relabeled Minolta designs. When you add in the third party options you can certainly get what you need for Sony mount, but it would definitely be nice to have the much wider selection available to Nikon and Canon users (which include even more third party options).

That being said I have spent a great deal of time researching different f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lenses for Sony to decide which ones would work best. I’ve read reviews from both average users to the major review sites to find out about each lens before buying. I now have a pretty nice set and though I may sell one or two of them, I am pretty sure I am going to stick with what I have for the long run. There are a couple of additional lenses I would like to try in the future such as the Sony 16-35/2.8 (if I ever go full frame), one of the two Minolta 80-200/2.8’s and the Sigma 120-300/2.8 if the Sony version is ever released.

I plan to do a separate write up on why I like each of the below lenses, but for now, just look at how neat they all look together:

The 2.8's by Greg Kemp

From left to right –
Tokina AT-X 116 Pro DX 11-16mm
Sony DT SSM 16-50mm
Tamron SP AF XR Di II LD 17-50mm
Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* ZA SSM 24-70mm
Tamron SP AF LD Aspherical IF 28-105mm
Tamron SP Aspherical 35-105mm
Sigma APO EX DC HSM II 50-150mm
Tamron SP AF Di LD IF Macro 70-200mm

11 Oct

3D Flash Photography with High Speed Sync

In Technical by Greg / October 11, 2011 / 0 Comments

3d test

I was doing testing earlier this year to prove whether or not it is possible to sync two cameras using nothing but cheap wireless triggers (from YongNuo) with flash using Sony / Minolta high speed wireless sync. So far it looks promising, as you can see there is a slight exposure variation between the left and right cameras, but this might be possible to work out. Both cameras must “think” they are controlling the flash, but you have to cover up the on-board flash of one camera so prevent the flash from getting confused. I will do more experimenting with this if/when I get my second a700 body repaired (it hit the ground with a heavy lens, tearing it apart).

Eventually, I will post more on my interest in 3D photography, and why you haven’t seen much of it from me, except a couple tests so far.

11 Oct

Old Japan in 3D

In Blog by Greg / October 11, 2011 / 0 Comments

There is a Flickr member who goes by the name Okinawa Soba who posts many amazing old photos from Japan. Among the most interesting images on the stream are the old 3D images by Japanese photographer T. Enami. I love getting to see old world things using techniques that are usually thought of as modern (but believe it or not, they aren’t that new) – such as 3D imaging. T. Enami used a pair of cameras to take proper 3D images and then generally put them in stereogram format. It did take me a bit of practice to learn to see a stereogram, but once learned it can be quite rewarding.

Here are some examples of the amazing 3D photography by T. Enami:
Old Japan in 3D

Geisha in 3D

T. Enami 3D Contact Prints

11 Oct

La Boutique del Platano

In Blog by Greg / October 11, 2011 / 0 Comments
La Boutique del Platani by Greg Kemp
La Boutique del Platani, a photo by Greg Kemp on Flickr.

If you ever find yourself in Maracaibo Venezuela I highly recommend this restuarant. They specialize in a type of sandwich called a patacone which instead of bread has a crispy flat tortilla like thing made from flattened plantains.

I found this 4 year old receipt in my suitcase while packing. Now I have used this suitcase since, but somehow this went unnoticed. Now I really want a good patacone.

09 Oct

Color Photos from the Early 1900’s

In Blog by Greg / October 9, 2011 / 0 Comments


Did you know that the first color film wasn’t invented until 1935? Before that different photographers had to find ways to add color to their photos. For some it meant hand coloring the photos, but for one Russian fellow, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorski (say that 10 times fast, I dare you, oh and only with your best Russian accent!) figured out how to use color filters over his film to take 3 simultaneous exposures. The resulting black and white images could then be layered together to create a color photograph. It is really amazing seeing the photos he took as he traveled across Russia documenting the people and things he saw with his specially made camera.

Note that if you see red and green separation in his photos, they are not anaglyphs – its just where the images did not get lined up perfectly during processing. So your red and green glasses for viewing old 3D movies won’t help you.

You should really check out some of the photos here.

06 Oct

Better in Black

In Blog by Greg / October 6, 2011 / 0 Comments

I really like how the card looks in black, all I did was invert it in Photoshop without making any adjustments. The white version looks good on a heavy weight matte paper, the black looks good on a heavy weight gloss. When I get my cards professionally printed I will order some of both, for now I am printing a nice stack at home which will all be the white version.


05 Oct

Business Card v1.0

In Blog by Greg / October 5, 2011 / 0 Comments

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for all too long, design a business card. I was so excited to print this tonight, BUT I bought the wrong replacement ink cartridges. They work with my printer, but I didn’t get the one of the 8 that’s empty. So even though I am printing grayscale and the empty one is photo magenta, the printer doesn’t care. So my printing will have to wait until tomorrow. Here it is though, the first Gregory Kemp Photography business card. Will this be the end of the business as the saying goes? “The business card is the start and end of any business”.

If you were wondering, the card was created entirely in Photoshop CS4.

bus card v1

05 Oct

Fragile Earth Studios

In Blog by Greg / October 5, 2011 / 0 Comments

A bit of a sidetrack from my usual directly photographic postings (I guess I have enough postings to call them “usual”) – the other day late at night when I couldn’t sleep because I was sick I found this awesome website. They are using 3D game engines to create virtual versions of real world places. Seems some of the work has a ways to go, but it looks like an awesome idea. Imagine being able to explore the areas of Mammoth Cave not accessible to the public, or being able to walk on the moon. It will be so cool if they could combine high resolution images of these places with the 3D maps they are creating. Check it out here.

02 Oct

First CD Ready

In Events,Graphics by Greg / October 2, 2011 / 0 Comments

I was able to find Lightscribe CD’s at Office Max on sale today, so that was awesome. I then tried out my design on a CD to see how it would look. I am pretty happy with the results. I think in the future I would want to be able to do actual prints on CD’s, rather than lightscribing them. This works pretty well and is a lot more professional than using a Sharpie, especially with my chicken scratch handwriting. The CD label was created in Photoshop and then I am using Nero to print the image onto the CD.

First CD

02 Oct

MHHS Class of 61 Reunion Photos

In Events,Graphics by Greg / October 2, 2011 / 0 Comments

Today I have been working on a jewel case cover and Lightscribe CD label to make nice looking CD’s for the MHHS Class of 61 reunion I photographed a few weeks ago. I was so excited to try making my first ever Lightscribe CD tonight only to discover I bought the wrong CD’s. I must have selected the wrong item when I was ordering them on Amazon. I will have to pay the much higher in-store price for the CD’s tomorrow since I won’t have time to re-order the right ones, and there’s always that suspense of wanting to see if my design looks good or not on a real CD.

On the other hand, I did design and print the jewel case covers successfully today, just waiting on the prints to finish so I can cut them (and hoping my printer won’t run out of ink as it prints through the 50 covers I need to make). I am by no means a graphic designer, but sometimes I get inspired and do something I think turned out rather well. I relied mostly on my photographic skills as all but the main text of this graphic was created from photos – there were 5 separate photos and then several layers of text, all done in PS CS4.

The labels are being printed by my Canon Pixma printer on photo matte paper as I write this, tomorrow when I get the first CD’s burned maybe I’ll take some pics of the final product. For now, here is the jewel case label design:

MHHS Cd cover