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Pictures & Words

Out in the Snow with the DP3 Merrill

I’m forcing myself to do a couple things this weekend. First—not do any AbbVie work (I really needed a break). Second—start to learn to use my camera in less than ideal conditions. So those conditions happen to be bright winter sun, temperature in the teens, and a 20 mph wind that makes you think it’s still damn cold. Which it is. 

What I found most fascinating about my little tour around the yard was how much snow we’ve accumulated over this winter. It’s not that we’ve had much in the way of major storms (I think probably a half foot at the most on any one day), but the fact that it started snowing in November and hasn’t really stopped. And we’ve had nothing approaching a thaw. That means that we’ve got some 3-4’ drifts still hanging out with snow that’s probably a few months old. Crusty, but not crusty enough to hold me. 

But before I got outside, I got to take a couple shots of my favorite model. CJ’s just hanging out on the couch, happy to be safe and warm. Well, I dragged his sorry spotted butt outside too! I’m not going to be the only one suffering...


So, we start with some shadows and snow abstracts—we’ve got those aplenty!


I call this one ‘Good Connection’.


Now we come to Angel, who’s patiently waiting to be bred. She’s visiting us from the far off land of Pennsylvania! She’s a Carmen x Thriller puppy—the jewel of Jim and Ethel Buzzard.


And I really like this one in B/W as well


With the pointer (who will not be siring this litter!). This is just a demonstration to let everyone know that I’ve still got some work to do with regards to the camera operation—Angel was supposed to be in focus and CJ was going to be OOF with his dreamy spots fading into the snow. Great conceptual idea—it just lacked execution. :-)


This gives you an idea of the snow that’s been blowing and drifting around here.


And finally, this was the only green I could find.

Everyone is Getting Sick of Winter

It’s like a bad advertisement for ‘Game of Thrones’ this year. I’m working from home today because a moderate snowfall was forecasted to hit, especially during the afternoon. I was up in the kitchen making some tea when I noticed a ‘kitty’ walking towards the house from the driveway. Now I could only see the top line of the beast, and it looked a little like our Siamese—but as it got closer, it appeared to ratty to be one of our cats. And when it turned the corner to come up to the porch, it looked too ratty to be a cat, period!


Let’s just say the poor thing wasn’t thrilled about being cornered by a guy toting his new compact camera! After I snapped a few shots, he scooted back out into the wild white yonder.

A New Camera Arrives: the Sigma DP3 Merrill

I’m ditching the sidebar so I can dish on the brand new camera and put some slightly larger photos up. I picked up a Sigma DP3 Merrill a few weeks ago. Got it through Amazon from a Japanese reseller for a very nice price ($595)—and I’ve been waiting patiently to get my hands on this camera. Of course, now that I’ve got it, it’s obsolete! Sigma’s just announced the next generation of their compact DP series with a new Foveon sensor (Quattro): The new technology looks very cool, so there’s no doubt that I’ll have another one on my wish list soon enough.

For the uninitiated, the DP3 Merrill is a compact camera with a f2.8 75 mm equivalent lens. The sensor is amazing—it has nearly 4x the number of pixels that my dSLR (the SD15) does. Coupled with a beautiful lens, this is a great near telephoto setup for portraiture and close up work. The weather has been pretty rotten around here as of late (well, actually as of October) so it’s not a lot of fun to go outside and shoot, but I did a little work last weekend and today. Go to the DP3 Merrill gallery to see the images (and download a few and view them full size); I certainly see a lot of potential in this camera.

Downsides: it’s a high resolution (as in medium-format—I’ve seen 30 x 48” prints from this sensor) compact camera, so you either have to shoot at a high shutter speed or put it on a tripod. And every time I bring it up to my eye, I remind myself that it has no optical viewfinder (I’m getting more used to that). Battery life is poor (80-100 shots). The not-so-great Foveon performance in low levels of incandescent and fluorescent light. If you fill up the 7 shot buffer, you’ll be waiting a while for it to clear.

Upsides: A tremendous lens on top of a great sensor. A really well designed compact camera with some nice ergonomics and sensible controls and menus (I’m surprised how quickly I’m getting used to it already). The shutter is in the lens (a leaf shutter), so it’ll sync with my flashes to 1/2000 s. You can print murals out of this (20x30” is no problem). I’ll write more as I get used to it, but I’m pretty excited.

Copyright 2014, Jim Kofron. All rights reserved.