Fresh Air for the Eyes

Ghost Camera_1

Louis Draper

Photographs displayed on The Louis Draper Project website show glimpses of a community not long past but unknown to many of us. Mr. Draper covered a range of subjects from fashionable women to the third world. His work includes many excellent portraits and street photography of the community in which he lived.

Sometime in 2014 I signed up for The Louis Draper Project email distributions. I’m certainly glad I did. Mr. Draper was a photographer of great skill and cultural sensitivity who is not well known outside his community. Now the Louis Draper Project is making his photography available to a mass audience. Well done to all concerned.

Photographers such as Louis Draper possess freedom of expression and level of craft we can all appreciate. Their work moves far beyond the preoccupation with rules and technique that dominates most online photography discussions. Looking at work by masters photographers is an excellent way to develop creative eyes.

Sigma Camera – One More Time

Sigma-sd-Quattro-H_SThe Foveon sensor has intrigued me since the first Sigma DP cameras were introduced. The three layer design seems to be a much better idea than a bayer array. No matter how you finesse a bayer chip you are losing resolution and interpolating missing information. When you add in an anti-alias filter matters get worse. The whole bayer thing seems like an engineering song and dance.

Unfortunately for Sigma the imaging sensor is just part of a camera package. You have to combine all the right functional components with a brilliant camera design to hit the mark. So far they have been unable to get the handling qualities of their cameras to a high enough standard. That may have changed with the last Quattro line of cameras but the design is unconventional to say the least. The latest Sigma cameras are more or less standard mirrorless ILC designs. That is a good thing.

Over the years I have seriously considered buying a Sigma compact camera. But reviews talking of handling issues, poor high ISO performance and slow focus have stopped me. Still I have a very strong desire to own a camera with a Foveon sensor.

I’ve never seen a full size un-retouched image file from a Sigma DP camera. They seem to be rare items. The best finished images I have seen are outstanding. They have qualities unlike anything I can achieve with my bayer sensor cameras. That is not to say that my skill level when processing Raw files is all that good.

This new interchangeable lens body design and APS-C/H chips sure seem to hit all the right notes. If they handle and perform as good as they look then this release could finally be the breakthrough that Sigma has been working toward for such a long time.

They Once Walked Here

Big Bend National Park, Texas

The canyon has a wide flat floor with ample evidence of natural violence from flashfloods. In places it is more than a mile wide. Huge boulders cracked and carved by the elements litter the valley floor.

At sunrise and sunset when the light is at a low angle you can see the remains of dozens of fire rings. Each was warm security for humans. Deep stone mortars are evidence of bounty gathered over long occupation of the land.

We can’t know their lives in the distant past. We can know them as we know all people.