About

hp 2016Sunflower Mesa Photography is a venue for the photography of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I'm a photographer based out of Rio Rancho, New Mexico.  I've been taking pictures on and off since age 8. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, that my mother gave me.  I have a variety of photographic interests and am most interested in process improvement though study and practice.

During the day, I work on Internet related projects, manage Linux web servers and databases, and do programming and web application development.

I also play and teach Irish music, hike a lot, and enjoy travel.

 

What Gear Do I Use?

Camera

I use two cameras:

  • Sony A6000
  • Sony RX100 MKI

I have nothing but good things to say about these cameras. They consistently take sharp photos, provide the features I want, are durable, and are affordable. The RX100 is my camera of choice for hiking and backpacking. It is compact and the photos it takes are near to the quality of the A6000. Considering how it has been abused, I am amazed that it still works. It is starting to show signs of age though, and will eventually need to be replaced.  I mostly use the Sony A6000 day to day, because of it's greater flexibilty and higher resolution output.

The APS-C A6000 is my camera of choice. It just does what I want it to do and has not let me down.

Lens

I use just a few lenses.

Zeiss 16-70 mm Zoom:  A very satisfying lens which is especially good for travel. It provides reasonable wide and zoomed views, and has excellent optics. Autofocus works well and is fast. If I carry one lens, which is usually the case, it is this one. 

Sony Kit Zoom 70-200mm: A really a fine zoom lens, especially given how affordable it is. I was able to buy used for $130. Good for birds, portraits, and animals.

Rokinnon 12mm Wide Angle: An inexpensive but quality manual wide angle lens.  Great for landscapes and star photography. It has an F-stop is low enough to allow for a fully open aperture and the long exposures needed for photographing the night sky. Optics are good. Because it has such a wide depth of field when stopped down, manual focus is not much of a problem. Just stop to F16 or 22 and focus on infinity and most landscape shots will be in sharp focus. Wide open it is capable of capturing the glorious colors of the night sky.

Sigma ART 30mm F 1.4.  A sharp lens for close-ups and street photography. While it is not really a portrait lens, being of a little short and less than flattering focal length, I tend to use it for that anyways, as it is what I have, and am quite happy with the results. I also use it for macro, and while again it is not really the optimal lens for close up, it does works well, and the optical quality, if I don't ridiculously close, is just stunning, given the lens low price.

The only lens I don't have and would like is a good portrait/ macro lens at about 85 mm. Sigma and Sony make nice ones. 

Other Kit

A clear daylight UV filter covers all lens, mainly to protect the optics. These are cheap and disposable. I beat them up as I rarely have a lens protective cover on the lens.

Sunpack Travelite Tripod: Light and reasonably affordable.  Has a nice ball head.

Peak Design Capture: Allows me to clip cameras to my backpack shoulder strap.  Quick release.0 The camera is always secure while in transit, it can be released and used with a single easy motion.

Giotto Air Bulb, Brush, Sensor Swabs, and Eclipse Cleaning Fluid: For cleaning sensor and lens of dust.  The Sony sensors tend to get very dusty, which affects image quality. I blow the APS-C sensor off with the Giotto bulb whenever I change lenses. If that does not work, a light sweep with the camel hair brush usually works. Occasionally I need to clean the sensor with a swab and use Photographic Solutions APS-C Sensor Swabs and Eclipse cleaning fluid, which does a good job cleaning more tenacious dust spots. Occasionally I need to take the RX100 apart and clean its sealed sensor. This is tedious and complicated, but worth learning how to do.

Post Processing

I always shoot using the camera's native RAW format. This allows me to make full use of the dynamic range that the camera is capable of, in post processing.

I use Phase One's insanely good Capture One Pro to manipulate RAW images. I also use Adobe Photoshop, and the DxO NIK Filter collection for selective enhancement. 

I process images on a capable PC with a fast Intel processor, 32GB RAM, a large solid state hard drive, a dedicated NVidia graphics card, and color-calibrated monitor (for seeing and printing accurate colors).

I backup all my images nightly to 2 external USB drives, and not to the cloud. Redundancy in backup is important as one or the other is likely to fail for some reason.