70mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/400
Seems like it has been a while, eh? I suppose I have a lot of catching up to do!
When it comes to photography in inclement weather, I used to always be a firm proponent of the “get out there and do it anyway” thought process. Alfred Wainwright comes to mind, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” In that, I have had great luck in the past photographing through deluges of thunderstorms, searching for compositions in heavy snow, and even waiting through balmy and mosquito-filled evenings for a good sunset in Florida. It’s the shot that counts at the end of the day, right? After all, discomfort from a bit of heat or cold is really only temporary if one plans ahead.
This past winter, though, makes me think Alfred Wainwright never visited Chicago. Continue Reading
105mm, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/400, 2 images stitched
Now that the festivities of Christmas and New Years have wound down once more, many reading this are back to their normal lives. I hope everyone out there had a great time with friends and family the past couple weeks and didn’t do anything too crazy (but hey, I can’t tell you how to celebrate!). Especially with it being a great time for gifts and resolutions, I’m sure many are finding themselves learning a new camera or lens to shoot with. As long as you are mindful of Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.), you should be fine. 😉
Oddly, WordPress didn’t put together an end-of-year analysis like it usually does for this site. A few clicks into my analytics still show great numbers despite my decline in post frequency (which, if you’ve been following previous updates, are due to a myriad causes). Over 110,000 views from 71,000 visitors, with the top three countries being U.S.A. (no surprise), the U.K., and Germany (Hallo!). I can’t thank you all enough for still supporting the site through my many life changes. Speaking of those life changes, 2018 definitely had its fair share. I moved from Japan back to the States in Chicago, got married, bought a car, and even managed a promotion at work. Keen readers may know what Mrs. Matthew Durr Photography looks like from a previous post or two, but just in case… Continue Reading
105mm, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/1250
Summer and Winter may just be the easiest seasons to photograph regardless of where you may find yourself on the planet. Both seasons take some time to get through, and provide plenty of opportunity for photographs for even the busiest people. The seasons of change however, Spring and Fall, present a fast-paced challenge for many throughout the world. When I was in Japan for the past couple years, Spring was the most difficult time of the year to photograph due to not only my work schedule, but also to the fleeting cherry blossom trees almost necessary to provide ambiance for the Japanese setting. Depending on the type of cherry blossom tree, a window of 3-4 weeks was pretty generous.
Here in North Chicago, I found myself getting rushed through the millions and millions of leaves changing over the course of only a couple weeks. Due to an unseasonably warm early Fall, the landscape here didn’t begin to change until mid-late October. However, arctic air–and the high winds that accompany it–blew in so quickly that the splash of color everywhere was all but gone by the start of November. Combine that short turnaround with a couple busy workweeks, well, let me just say I was in a rush to capture whatever I could in my little corner of the Midwest. Continue Reading
105mm, ISO 100, T3.2, 1/640
This summer, I have searched for some local photo-friendly spots that I can use to test out lenses and other gear. There are local parks, trails, and the like in North Chicago, but little to nothing that compares to the sprawling metropolis/park areas I saw on the daily in Japan. Some of the smaller areas and bike trails are great for getting out for an afternoon of fresh air, but they don’t offer much in the way of a bonafide picturesque and scenic location. Thankfully, I did not have to search too far to come across the excellent Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL. Housing 27 separate gardens and four nature areas on 385 acres of land, the “living museum” has so many great places to make some great photographs. As it should be no surprise to some of my readers, I’m very excited they house an extensive bonsai collection as well as a well-manicured Japanese-style garden (that I plan to visit on my next trip!). In a summer filled with Navy Weeks and other projects, here’s a few photos made during a day trip to help keep my photographic chops sharp.
Well…I’m finally doing it. After years of owning this 11-pound tank of a telephoto, it’s time to put together a review of “Big Papa”. I’ve shot with the lens for events and wildlife sparingly, in my time in Japan I couldn’t just drive anywhere with this optic in tow. All my photowalks consisted of train rides and lots…and lots…of walking. Now that I’m finally back in the States, and I have a high-performance full-frame camera to test on, I have the opportunity to really get out there with the lens and try some more wildlife shots, and perhaps some sports/events if I get the chance. Thankfully I do have at least a few shots over the years that will easily find their place in the review if needed. Continue Reading
15mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1 Second
As it turns out, I got a bit lucky and found just enough time to briefly look through my last outing to Yokohama touring some of the winter illuminations downtown. Though the Red-Brick Warehouse had its own Christmas Market (more on that in a later post!), the tail-end of the night drew my friend and I outside Yokohama World Porters to catch the ever-colorful Cosmo Clock. Every 15 minutes after sunset the enormous ferris wheel gives a nice show, so it gave us many opportunities to attempt some time-lapse videos (and to grab a warm caramel drink from the vending machines in-between shows!) that I’ll piece together later.
As it’s that time of the season, I wanted to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to whatever else you may celebrate in your neck of the woods. As I’m taking a break myself for the end of the year, it’ll be at least early January before I can write up my 2017 website recap, and boy will there be plenty of photographs to share! Until then, take care these next couple weeks, spend some time with friends and family, and ring in the start of a brand-new year. That’s all for this quick holiday post, guys and gals. Thanks for dropping by and as always, have a great day!
Slowly but surely I am upgrading the lenses in my kit to be full-frame compatible. Longtime readers of my site already know I sport a deep collection of Nikkor AI-s lenses, ones that I could easily adapt to a full-frame a9000 or the like. As time goes on, however, I begin to notice the problems the old optics exhibit almost universally: low sharpness/contrast wide-open, mediocre flare performance, and relatively pronounced chromatic aberrations at larger apertures. I’m starting to see the benefits that modern optical formulas can provide where vintage lenses can rarely match.
With the Laowa 15mm f/2, I have found my wide-angle option to cement itself as part of a full-frame-ready kit. Featuring a native E-mount optical design, the compact and fast lens feels right at home even on an a6500, and performs quite admirably all-around. Does the lens perform up to its steep price point compared to the competition? Let’s take a look! As always, if you are unfamiliar with my lens review style, check this post first! Continue Reading