Marietta on Susquehanna — Redux

Back after quite some time to Marietta, PA.  On the Susquhanna River in Lancaster County. This was a backup location to the Ephrata Cloister, deeper into Lancaster County, which was not appealing given the weather.  This was last visted a number of cameras ago with the Canon 10D in Septmeber of 2005. Was probably time to go back if for technical improvement reasons only.  A few more pixels with the A7r at 36MP vs the 10D's 6MP.   The place hasn't changed much, still rather strange, caught between restoration aspirations and just plain rundown. Proximity to Three Mile Island might be part of the reason.

A favorite snap from 2005 redone below.  Click it or here to see the rest on smugmug.

Smitten with Evans...

Still on the Walker Evans kick.  Enough to divert to eastern Pennsylvania on the way back from Hoboken last week. Stopped in Easton at the Northampton Avenue Bridge to Phiillpsburg and St. Michael's Cemetary on Fourth Street in Bethlehem. The InstaTone neat tech in the Topaz Labs photoFXLab sems to have pretty much emulated the 30's black and white look based on the LOC images.  5D Mk III, 24 TS-E f/3.5L II.


Cellblock Thirteen, Eastern State Pennitentiary, Philadephia, PA.  The "Punishment Cellblock" — like the others aren't punishment enough.  The camera sees in the dark better than I do so these snapw were pretty much aim it and hope.  

It has pretty much much being a printing party since the new Epson 4900 arrived on Thursday, so I though it would be a good idea to curtail the paper consumption with a quick trip to Philly and the Eastern State Pennitenitiary. It has been cloudy and raining for the last couple of days so the light was good low contrast stuff. This is the third visit for me, prior visits were in August 2006 and March 2010.  I don't recall having seen Cellblock Thirteen before.

First snap shown taken mounted on the Gitzo, 5D MkII with the 24-70 2.8L at f/8.0, ISO 200 at 24mm with a pair of three shot brackets with +2ev exposure comp applied on the second series, I think, it could have been -2ev on the first bracket. Combined in HDR Efex Pro and finished in Color Efex 3.

As usual there were a lot of snaps, click here or either of the snaps to see the gallery.

Same as above except only one three shot bracket at 60mm.

Old device, new software

Shot April with a Canon 10D, post processed with HDR EFex and Silver Efex Pro II.  Old bottle new win, something like that. The 10D pressed into service after the 5D Mk II and 7D battery fiasco.  Anyway a two shot HD at Carrie Furnace in Rankin.  Was a three shot attempt but the bright one is blurred was at 1/6 of a second. ISO 800, f2.8 with 70 - 200 IS @ 70mm.

And again some more

No sense complaining about the equipment fiasco.  I like a lot of the Carrie Furnace shots.

Canon 10D, 70-200 f/2.8 IS, f/2.8, 70mm, ISO 800, bracketed off 1/3200.  Three shot, Slight (low opacity) Midnight filter application plus some Topaz Adjust and Nik Glamor Glow.

Canon 10D, 70-200 f/2.8 IS, f/2.8, 70mm, ISO 800, bracketed off 1/1250.  Three shot, Slight (low opacity) Midnight filter application plus some Topaz Adjust.

Lots of post processing in a not all that sucessfull attempt to make up for a not very technically good snap.

Canon 10D, 70-200 f/2.8 IS, f/2.8, 80mm, ISO 800, bracketed off 1/80.  Two shots HDR.

More Carrie Furnace

just to keep the blog items for getting too lengthy, see the prior two blog posts for the story.  The furnaces are going is going to require another trip in the fall, to make up for the battery fiasco.  That visit will have a different strategy, since the tour is not really a tour and tripods are OK, I'll bring the Gitzo and a rented 17 TS-E.  This place needs wide, really wide.  

Oh yeah, I forgot, I thought I had packed the 17-40 f/4.0L when I got there it turns out I packed the 35 f/1.4L — really clueless morning.  Anyway, fast but not really wide, especially on a crop camera like the 10D. Although I guess I could have put it on the 10D, gotten a 50mm equivalent and dropped the ISO.  DOF would likely been an issue and frankly given the grittiness of the furnaces the high ISO noise isn't much of a problem.

Yet, I am not unhappy with yesterdays snaps.  Thanks to being lucky with the XZ-1 being in the bag, with power and with a card and an old 10D.  What could have been nothing but a nine hour drive worked out OK.

Canon 10D, 70-200 f/2.8 IS, f/2.8, 75mm, ISO 800, bracketed off 1/640.  Two shots, no way I am good enough to handhold the over exposure steady.  Slight (low opacity) Midnight filter application.

Canon 10D, 70-200 f/2.8 IS, f/2.8, 75mm, ISO 800, bracketed 1/30 and 1/90.  As above only two shot. Again slight (low opacity) Midnight filter application.

Canon 10D, 24-70 f/2.8, f/8, 24mm, ISO 400, single shot.  Slight (low opacity) Midnight filter application, Topaz adjust, plus the regular stuff.

Compact proficiency

Read the post just below this, if you already haven't, to hear the reason for the XZ-1 at the Carrie Furnaces. All taken with the EVF and the new productivity enhancing lens cap.  Anyway didn't know what to expect under really tough conditions.  I think these are stunning snaps — digital cameras have come a long way with these kind of results from a compact, albeit an enthusiast compact.

So what doesn't work so well?  Dynamic range.  While DSLRs can recover lots of highlights, large sensor compacts cannot, in these dark shots any sunlight coming directly in is completely blown out.  Even the passé 10D has a little bit of latitude for highlight recovery.  Solution... make sure the framing is is accomplished to reduce the required demand on dynamic rage. The supply just isn't there.

XZ-1, f/2.2, ISO 640, 1/50, 18.2mm (what ever that means).  Standard one-shot processing.

XZ-1, f/2.2, ISO 640, 1/50, 18.2mm (what ever that means).  Midnight filter in Color Efex 3.

XZ-1, f/2.0, ISO 640, 1/30, 11.8mm (what ever that means).  Standard one-shot processing.

XZ-1, f/2.0, ISO 640, 1/50, 6mm (what ever that means).  Standard one-shot processing.

XZ-1, f/2.0, ISO 640, 1/25, 6mm (what ever that means).  Standard one-shot processing.


or actually no juice and a severe lack of MIPs too!.  Twelve hour round trip to the Rivers of Steel "Hardhat" "Tour" of the Carrie Furnaces in Rankin, PA.  Not really a tour (good), no hardhats for the touristas (not an issue) and no batteries for the MIPless snapper.  Yep, 4+ hours out there, get all strapped up, cameras hooked up, hit the on switch switch and nothing, absolutely nothing, perhaps because the batteries were 4+ hours away in Charm City. Serious MIP shortage.

I did manage to toss the XZ-1 in the bag and it had power and a backup and fellow snapper (who did the driving) had a backup body, a rather long in the tooth, 10D (ca 2003).  So I guess we shall see what trumps what, equipment or the artiste.  10D high noise at high ISO (800 for the indoors shots) might present some challenges, it was dark inside the furnaces.  I suspect most of these will wind up in B&W.

I can see why Tim rarely uses the handmedown 10D anymore.  It is slow, really slow and the buffer even fills up writing RAWS to a fast card after a couple of fast bracketed shots.  Five years is a long time in camera technology.

Three shot bracket, 10D, 70-20 f/2.8 IS, ISO 800, f/2.8, bracketed off 1/125 @ 70mm.  HDR Efex & Silver Efex Pro 2.

Three shot bracket, 10D, 70-20 f/2.8 IS, ISO 800, f/2.8, bracketed off 1/30 @ 70mm — saved by IS.  HDR Efex. Looks like some color might work.

No HDR here, just one shot with 10D, 70-20 f/2.8 IS, ISO 800, f/2.8, bracketed off 1/15 @ 70mm.  Hit with Color Efex Midnight Filter.

Three shot bracket, 10D, 70-20 f/2.8 IS, ISO 100, f/2.8, bracketed off 1/2000 @ 70mm. HDR Efex. No problem outside at all.

Single shot, ISO set wrong at 3200 from prior indoor shot.  Actually looks pretty good with high ISO in decent light.  24-70 f/2.8L @ 24mm, 1/500.

The beat goes on...

One more HDR production.  NikSoftware had a webinar today on B&W HDR.  Featured a shot from Eastern State Penn in Philly.  Have lots of those on hand, thought I would try one.  Looks too good in color though to make into a B&W.  Pretty good looking for HDR snap series.  From March '10, 5D Mk II @ ISO 200, 35 f1.4 @ f8, three snaps, on the Gitzo.


Same camera configuration, same HDR, bad, complex color cast so Silver Efex 2 and finally a Color Efex Soft Focus to subdue the crunchiness.

Storage is Cheap...

at least the kind most would use to store photos.  Storage to do airline reservations might be $100k per Terabyte but the stuff my snaps live on is about $65 per Terabyte.  So that means it costs around 4¢ for 10 images including backup.  Pretty cheap so why throw them away.  More like why not keep them.  I keep getting better at post processing and I keep getting better using software that is also getting better and the software is getting better a lot faster than I get better.  So snaps that maybe didn't look so good when I took them have the potential to look a lot better a couple of years later.  Kinda like booze, whiskey I think would taste like hell right after it was stuck in the barrel, ten to twenty years later maybe it is a great single malt. Anyway, I was looking a NikSoftware webinar for HDR Efex which I got to replace the difficult to use Photomatix so I went back through the archives and redid some old snaps.  One thrice bracketed series from Fort Delaware in June of '09, and two from August '06; a single shot faux HDR from the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia and a set of nine bracketed snaps from the Old Idaho Penitentiary, in Boise.

Snaps post processed in HRD Efex then another pass in Color Efex with Tonal Contrast and then with Glamour Glow.  Final tune up done in Aperture.

Anyway, I think these prove, that old is worth keeping around and old keeps getting better — kinda like stuffed peppers, hey!

Fort Delaware

Old Idaho Pennetentiary

Eastern State Pennetentiary