We spent last weekend in Key West and spent an hour in the Butterfly Conservatory. It's not a big exhibit, but butterfly conservatories have become a favorite since visiting my first one five years ago in Cleveland at the Botanical Gardens. Having a LUMIX FZ1000 with me just made it that much more fun!
Just like a coin has two sides, so do butterflies. I loved the contrast in colors and design of the little guy above. The under side of the Blue Morpho is brown with eye shapes and serves the purpose of camouflage, while the top of the wings are bright blue. It's a stunning display of color on each one.
Rumor has it if a butterfly lands on you during your trip through the exhibit it's a sign of good luck. Fortunately I had on my "lucky" shirt, which was bright yellow and a color they're attracted to. Sheila tried to get a shot for me, but I'm a lot taller and didn't want to move too much. However, being able to turn the screen around 180 degrees and compose the shot myself gave me just what I wanted. It might not be the most flattering pose, but who cares - I got the little guy sitting on my shoulders.
The only challenge I had was patience for the camera to adjust to room temperature. Your natural instinct is to start shooting immediately. However, coming from the air conditioned ticket area/store into the humidity of the butterfly sanctuary created instant fog on the lens.
All of my images were shot with the LUMIX FZ1000 usually in auto focus macro with the ISO at 200-400. I found myself experimenting with "IA", Intelligent Auto mode as well. In Intelligent Auto the camera continuously runs through a series of features including image stabilization, ISO sensitivity and continuous auto-focus, just to name a few.
Key West is known for its natural beauty, the shops, galleries, restaurants and obviously being surrounded by the ocean on all sides. However, the Butterfly Conservatory created a stunning moment of beauty and peace we just didn't plan on. There's little that beats butterflies, soft music and the beauty of the conservatory.
Intro by Skip Cohen
Numerous times over the years I've written the following - "The best part of this industry has nothing to do with photography but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft." Meet a relatively new friend, Daniel J. Cox.
Daniel is a Panasonic Luminary and I've shared a number of his images and posts, always linking back to his website. In this new post, he shares some valuable insight with his use of "PinPoint AF" one of the many features on several of the LUMIX cameras. As always, Daniel shares not only great images, but gives us the technical support to go with the post, demonstrating the unmatched passion that comes with every click of his shutter!
Interested in checking out more of Daniel's work, visit his blog with just a click of your mouse on the banner below. Then wander over to the LUMIX Lounge and check out the rest of the Luminary team. They're a talented group of artists, educators and as you meet them at the various conventions and workshops this year, terrific friends to have in your network!
If you are interested seeing Kenya for yourself join Daniel in Kenya in 2017. All telephoto images in this post were shot with the new Leica 100-400mm lens. You can read more about the new lens at Lumix Diaries: Shooting the New Leica Lumix 100-400mm.
I recently returned from Kenya, a photographic trip I do every year, and this season was considerably different than years past. With the world wide occurrence of Elnino the Masai Mara and Samburu Game Reserves were greener, more lush, with higher and thicker grasses than I’ve ever seen in my nearly twenty years of visiting these wildlife Meccas for photography.
Virtually every night and some of the days we had pouring rains that saturated the Savannah to the point of making travel difficult. But what is a challenge for humans is a blessing for the animals that call these islands of life home
Typically these storms don’t come until February and in years past I’ve actually planned some of my trips to coincide with what are called the annual short rains. Late February is a great time for potential lightning storms, big cumulous thunderheads and the chance to see the animals living their lives while being deluged from the skies. This year the rains came early.
With so much vegetation I tried a seldom used feature on my Lumix cameras known as Pinpoint AF. The GX8 and the G7 have this feature on the back Cursor Pad. The Cursor Pad is the little circle with up/down left/right arrows that allow you to move through many of the cameras choices.
The GH4 has the same options under the Fn3 button on the right, back side of the camera. Whether the Cursor Pad or Fn3 button the idea is the same; to give you the ability to change the AF sensor pattern in the viewfinder.
There are six possibilities with the one we want to discuss, Pinpoint AF, on the very far right side of the option window. This is the AF feature I want to share with those who might not know how handy this little tool actually is.
With Pinpoint AF selected you get the ability to precisely select a very small, minute, spot, for the camera to precisely focus on. How does this all relate to the my trip to Kenya you might ask?
Quite simply, with all that grass it was extremely difficult to focus on many of my subjects due to the thick vegetation getting in the way. Even with my GX8’s AF Single sensor dialed down to it’s smallest size, I was often unable to get critical focus on the animals eyes and face.
Switching over to the Pinpoint AF made all the difference, allowing me to shoot precisely between blades of grass to acquire the precision focus all good wildlife images require.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when trying to access Pinpoint AF. In several situations the Pinpoint AF option may be grayed out. To access Pinpoint AF you need to make sure you are not shooting in AF-C, the little switch to the right of the EVF.
Pinpoint AF only works when you are set to AFS/AFF. Furthermore, you have to go in to the Menu, select the REC tab and find the AFS/AFF setting and MAKE SURE it is set to AFS.
If it’s on AFF you will not be able to access the Pinpoint AF feature. One other thing to remember. Pinpoint AF is slow and precise so don’t try using it on subjects that move quickly. It’s best for stationary objects.That’s all there is to it.
Who knows how many uses we may all find for this unique and little known feature. For me it was very handy on the plains of the Serengeti but one doesn't’ have to think to far outside the box to imagine how it might work in all sorts of other situations.
You may have your family pet sneaking through the grasses of your backyard. How about a portrait photographer creating a beautiful, out of focus foreground of fall colored leaves during a senior graduation shoot. I can imagine my college days as a wedding photographer shooting through a warm and glowing candelabra, foreground soft and muted while the bride and groom are critically focused in the distance.
It’s just one more amazing tool unheard of in traditional DSLR’s and one more reason why I’m a huge fan of the technology Panasonic is bringing to the world of capturing stills and moving images.
Over many years of my career I've been involved in a lot of trade shows and conventions and especially booth design, going back to my Polaroid days, then Hasslelbad and WPPI/Rangefinder. When you're a big company people expect a big presence. There's a recipe for success and at IUSA I was reminded of the ingredients as I went by the Panasonic booth yesterday.
So, if you're at IUSA swing by the Panasonic booth, and find out what everybody is talking about. The only thing more impressive than their camera line is the passion and skill set of the staff in the booth!
Note: All images captured with the LUMIX FZ1000.
It's very simple to understand, if my buddy Mark Toal didn't have a camera with him at all times, he simply would cease to be Mark Toal. It's a key part of his persona, especially when he's traveling.
What's a kick with this particular post is really simple - we all love people-watching, whether it's planned or waiting at an airport for your flight to start boarding. As photographers you're all storytellers and this is where I love street photography. One image can speak volumes and if a picture really is worth a thousand words, then Mark Toal is approaching the works of Shakespeare. LOL
Interested in finding more of Mark's work along with a stellar team of writers/artists? Check out Mirrorless Photo Tips with regular posts by Mark, Joe Farace and Mary Farace. Then, swing by the LUMIX Lounge. You'll never be disappointed with what you find!
by Mark Toal
When I’m traveling for work I love to walk around whatever city I’m in before and after work. The camera gives me a good excuse to head for parts of cities that I haven’t seen before.
I’ve written before about carrying one camera and one lens to keep my life simple. This time of year in Seattle it doesn’t get light until about 8AM so I decided to take the Panasonic G7 and 42.5mm f/1.7 lens so I could shoot in low light. I specifically choose the G7 for its light weight. I want to enjoy the walk and hopefully get a few good images. I don’t want the weight of the camera to limit or affect how long or far I might walk.
In the early morning some of the most interesting things I see are through store windows as the lights come on. My camera is never in a case and the lens cap is always in my pocket so I’m ready to shoot. I set the camera to Program mode and the ISO to Auto so I don’t have to think about anything; just raise the camera and press the shutter. If I see something like this man opening up a repair shop I shoot a couple of images very quickly so they don’t notice me. I try to get as close to the glass without touching it so I don’t make any noise. If I see any adjustments I want to make I know that I have the shot in case he moves before I can change the aperture or shutter speed. I can always adjust and crop the image later.
Welcome to Luminary Corner. Besides being a recognized member of the professional photographic community, each post author is a member of Panasonic's LUMIX Luminary team.