Monday, December 29, 2008

Evening dew

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

As I mentioned before, I believe that high ISO performance is THE major argument in favor of large sensor SLRs. The Pentax K10D performs very well up to ISO 400, but above that the visible noise starts to interfere with image sharpness and an unattractive blotchy grain shows up in the underexposed areas.

The photo above was taken late in the afternoon, hand held at ISO 400, in one of those stressful situations when a photographer has only a few moments to take his shots, before the dimming daylight disappears for good. The way the light refracted within the dew drops, making them standout from the leaves, was what attracted me. But I didn't try enough compositions and so the results were a bit disappointing. In addition, some of the images would benefit from a higher depth of field, but I used only f5.6 or f8 because of the low light.

Does this mean I'm desperate for a full frame Pentax? Not really. I'll just have to practice using my AF-540 flash as a complement for my close up photography...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chestnuts on the fire

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

My father-in-law still roasts chestnuts on the fireplace, using an old metal kettle. Roasted chestnuts and fireplaces are two of the nicest things of Winter.

For some reason, I had never taken photos of wood burning in a fireplace before. I like how the exposures turned out. The brick wall in the back got just the right amount of light. I also like the way how the fire defines the contours of the kettle in this particular photo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crack on the wall

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

Old stone and mortar walls are great subjects for photography. Cracks, holes, moss, chipped paint, a whole landscape of textures, reliefs and light gradations. These are a challenge to the photographer's creativity and a good exercise for developing composition skills.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The power of the S curve

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

The photo above could be titled something like "After the storm." The sun light hitting the fog horn and the stone walls, under a still threatening lead-gray colored sky, just seems to be fitting for that title.

Actually, the previous photo was based on the one below, a low key shot taken on an overcast Winter morning. There was no storm before or after the shot...

The only post-processing consisted on adjusting the tone curve in Silkypix, giving it a slight S shape instead of the default straight line. This increased the lightness of the lighter areas and made the rest darker. By adding an appropriate number of control points on the curve, I was able to give it the appropriate shape and obtain the result I was looking for. It's interesting how the sky became much more dramatic after this transformation.

Unlike Lightroom, which allows only for changing pre-defined sections of the curve, Silkypix lets one add any number of control points, providing a high degree of control over the lightness adjustments.

In most applications, when the mouse cursor is placed over the photo, the corresponding point is shown on the tone curve. This way the user can identify exactly which are the parts of the curve that should be made lighter or darker. Sometimes, even subtle adjustments have a very visible effect.

I find using tone curves (sometimes just called "curves") an essential part of post-processing, much more intuitive and effective than simply adjusting contrast/brightness levels.

Take another example. The next photo was taken on the same day:

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

This is the original image:

This time the purpose was to decrease contrast and lighten up the darker areas, so as to create a version with a softer light. The tone curve used was now a flipped S. Many may prefer the original, higher contrast, image. But I like the processed version, as it somehow reminds me of XVIII century naturalist paintings.

Of course, S shapes are not the only possibilities for tone curves. I might post later on the power of the "double S" curve...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blue and white

Sometimes, one makes photos from almost nothing...

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 135/2.8

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stones and melons

Recently, when visiting some relatives, I saw a pile of stones and melons lying in the garden of their house. The stones were for decorating flowerbeds and the melons were for making jam. The fact that they were together was just a coincidence. The winter afternoon sunlight reflecting from the white wall of the house created a beautiful soft lighting on that unexpected set. I quickly grabbed the camera and took some photos.

The rest of the family must have thought "For God's sake, why doesn't he take photos of the kids instead?!"

I actually ended up taking some photos of the kids. But the truth is that the stones and the melons came out better...

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hexagonal highlights

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tubes

I like the photo above. I like the color and shape of the flower's petals. Some readers, however, may notice those hexagonal shaped points of light in the background and say: "Uh-oh! Bad bokeh!"

The term "bokeh" describes the quality of the out-of-focus areas in a photo, when a shallow depth of field is used. When a lens produces a good bokeh, the out-of-focus highlights have fuzzy edges and are smoothly blurred, forming a pleasant background without distracting artifacts. Some people use the expression "creamy bokeh" in opposition to "nervous bokeh" to describe the good and bad forms of bokeh.

The lens optical construction will determine its bokeh. In addition, the number of diaphragm blades in the lens will determine the shape of out-of-focus points of light. Lens with six blades will create hexagonal shaped highlights. Nowadays, many lens have nine or more blades or curved blades in order to generate more "pleasing" circular highlights. The higher number of blades does not imply a better bokeh, though. The distinguishing factor is not the shape of the points of light, but how their brightness is distributed. In a lens with poor bokeh, the edges are noticeably brighter than the center and the overall effect in the background of a photo can be quite unpleasant and distracting, as in the cropped sample shown left (taken from the web - lens unknown). For good bokeh, the edges have to be diffuse and the center is the brighter area. The Zeiss lens used in the first photo produces the so called "neutral" bokeh, since the brightness is uniform across the hexagons. If you're interested in reading more about this, Ken Rockwell has a nice article on bokeh here and Rick Denney describes the results of a very informative lens test here.

As you may have guessed, many Zeiss lenses have only six straight blades and many people will quickly point their reproaching fingers at those hexagons. Of course, the photo I've shown in the beginning is not really a severe example, since the highlights are quite faint.

My view on hexagonal highlights is: if you were distracted by them, then most probably the photo was not very interesting.

Just to finish up, here's a couple more photos of those blue flowers, taken with another lens. I'm sure some bokeh purists might find several optical aberrations here. I really like the photos though.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8 + extension tubes

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sensors and good sense

A lot has been written about Full Frame versus APS-C sized sensors in the last months. Specially after Nikon came out with the D700. The discussions have been so intense (and fruitless) in some forums, that many now feel nauseated when they see the two acronyms (FF and APS-C) together.

Many Nikon and Sony users are questioning themselves whether they should switch to FF, since the D700 and the Alpha 900 seem to be excellent (yet expensive) cameras.

Many Pentax users are questioning themselves whether they should switch brand, since Pentax does not seem to be interested in introducing an FF camera in the nearest future...

Many Canon users are laughing heartily, since they've been using an advanced amateur FF camera since 2005 (the Canon 5D).

This post most probably doesn't add much to the whole discussion, but I couldn't resist... The December issue of French magazine "Réponses Photo" has an interesting article titled "APS-C against 24x36". It lists "10 good reasons" in favor of each format and doesn't really take a side, so that the reader is free to make his/her own mind (or remain desperately undecided!). I'm presenting a loose translation of that list below.

In favor of APS-C cameras:
1. Low price
2. Low weight and inconspicuous look
3. Promotional body+lens kits abound
4. Integrated flash
5. Gain in terms of focal length ( a 300 mm lens behaves as a 450 mm, keeping the maximum aperture)
6. Gain in terms of depth of field (about 1 stop gain for the same aperture)
7. Cameras as full-featured as the FFs
8. The photo uses only the "best portion" of the lens (common problems like lack of border sharpness or vignetting are minimized when using a cropped sensor)
9. The image quality has reached a very satisfying level
10. Before, there were the medium and large formats and, still, we bought "low resolution" 35 mm film cameras and were happy about it...

In favor of FF cameras:
1. A former film photographer will meet his old lens choosing habits
2. Thanks to larger pixels sizes, record high sensitivities are attained
3. Top quality view-finders
4. Beautiful out-of-focus renditions at full aperture
5. Wide angle views can be obtained with light and relatively inexpensive 24 mm lenses
6. Top quality construction
7. Higher weight allows for better hand-holding stability and balance
8. With resolutions above 20 MP one can zoom into portions of the image and keep enough resolution
9. A long term investment, as a FF camera should maintain a higher resale value
10. "Once you try it, you'll never go back"

None of the previous arguments is new, but it is interesting to find them rounded up for both sides. I pretty much agree with most of the list for the APS-C cameras. However, the thing about the focal length advantage (item 5 in the first list) is outdated, since an image from a 20+ MP FF sensor can be cropped and zoomed in to obtain a 10 MP image, equivalent to the apparently longer focal from an APS-C (see item 8 in the second list). The only problem with this might be the "guilty conscience" of the photographer...

On the other hand, some items in the second list seem a bit far fetched. The higher build quality in FFs is a consequence of the price level and market segment associated to these cameras (advanced amateur and professional). If a FF camera could be made for a significantly lower cost, then we would see a whole range of quality levels in the market. By the way: Pentax DSLRs, namely the K10D/K20D, are examples of very good construction and very reasonable price.

The major argument in favor of FF cameras is the high sensitivity attainable with these larger sensors. An usable photo taken with 6400 ISO is something one wouldn't even dream of a few years ago. Some might ask: "But do you actually take that many photos in such low light conditions?" Well, I probably would if I could! But, as it is mentioned in a final portion of the article, humorously titled "Are we schizophrenic?", the FFs will remain quite expensive for a probably long time. They will increase in resolution but not decrease in price. That will demand lenses with a matching high resolution, which are also high priced.

Cropped sensors are an economic and versatile format that yields good quality images. Would I make better photos if I had a full frame camera? I'm afraid there are still other (more important?) things to be improved in my photo technique. But that's just me.

Duck pond

Show an amateur photographer a duck pond and he will rush for his telephoto and start shooting for the "Best Duck Photo Ever."

Sadly, I forgot to bring the 135 mm on our last visit to Porto's City Park, so I had to manage with the 50/1.4. But next time I'll be better prepared...

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fallen leaves

By this time of the year, every single photography blog out there must be showing photos of fallen leaves. This one is no exception.

Last Sunday, walking along the banks of river Lis in Leiria (Central Portugal) with my family, fallen maple leaves abounded. These are a couple of the shots I took, thanks to my wife's patience in looking over the kids...

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

And now, something completely different:

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

This is the ground of a open air children's playground, shot in the same day. The leaves fell from the surrounding trees. It is an artificial looking combination, I know, but that's how it was...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My "new" Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

Thanks to Leitax converters (once again) I've now added a new (used) lens to my setup: the Zeiss Sonnar 85 mm f2.8 AE, converted from Contax to Pentax mount. I got it as a replacement for my cherished Planar 85/1.4, which cannot be adapted due to its slightly different bayonet size.

Even though 85 mm was my favorite focal length for shooting film, with the K10D's APS-C sized sensor the 85 turns into something like 128 mm. I find this is an awkward length for portraits, having to stand too far away from the subject (useful if snapping a photo inconspicuously is intended, though). For some reason the Planar 50/1.4 is now my favorite lens on the K10D, being equivalent to 75 mm focal length on 35 mm film.

But an 85 on the K10D works well for isolating objects and framing details. I think I will be using this lens mainly in this context. And this lens must definitely be used! It produces sharp, well contrasted, images and is remarkably compact.

I think there will be quite a number of photos labeled "Sonnar 85/2.8" showing up on this blog...

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Sonnar 85/2.8

Thursday, November 13, 2008

B&W roses

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tube

I still have a long way to go concerning macro photography. However, the photos above surprised me quite favorably. The soft fluidity of the petals enfolding the chaotic entanglement of filaments creates an interesting contrast.

I like these specially because they were taken just to kill some time, while waiting for my baby son to finish his nap in the car, at the end of a Saturday afternoon. The camera was handheld. I like to imagine someone will think these were actually carefully prepared studio shots, in the line of Robert Mapplethorpe's excellent flower series! OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hiking in Autumn... better not!

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8

Last weekend I went hiking with a few friends. We went to a particular area in the Peneda-Gerês National Park that is remarkable for the immense granite rock formations. A great chance to take some nice photos and test my brand new Tamrac Adventure 9 photo backpack, I thought.

Well... let's just say it was not exactly a pleasant experience. It started as a moderate hike in a mild overcast day. It ended as a strenuous undertaking, involving walking for 17 km and 10 hours in heavy fog, under freezing wind, through dense wet vegetation, over slippery rocks (I'm not even exaggerating!). The last 1,5 hours were done in the dark, using flash lights to find the trail. We had slightly miscalculated the time necessary to complete the path and were a bit too optimistic about the weather forecast...

Now, back in the warmth of my living room, I can say that it was a lot of fun. However, it was a failure as a photographic expedition. The only photos I took were during the first stretch, before we started ascending. The fog then became so dense that my glasses were dripping, so I thought it would be better to keep the camera in the backpack. There would not be much to photograph, anyway, considering the almost null visibility.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8

And how did the Tamrac backpack do? It was remarkably comfortable to carry, despite being quite loaded. The lower compartment has several dividers, attached with Velcro, and pockets, providing plenty of space for the camera, 3-4 lenses and cards. The top compartment is not divided, and that's where I put the food. There are two side pockets for medium sized water bottles. There is also a back compartment for a laptop, which I used for the battery charger and a few other slim items (mobile phone, for instance). In terms of weather resistance, the extreme conditions of our little adventure were a bit too much for the exterior fabric and some humidity passed through. Not much though, and it didn't even touch the camera or lenses.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8

Now I'm going to get up slowly and go to bed. Does any one know a good anti-inflammatory for muscle pain?...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Every photo is the first frame of a movie

French maverick director Jean-Paul Godard once said: "Photography is truth. And cinema is truth twenty-four times a second." The relation between cinema and photography is quite obvious and there are several noteworthy examples of directors that have developed a serious interest in photography.

The title of this post is actually a quote from German film director Wim Wenders. He authored a couple of my all time favorite movies: "Paris, Texas" and "Wings of Desire." He is also a photographer, with a few books published (in case you're wondering: he uses a Leica M).

I particularly like one of his books, titled "Once". It is a book of memories, in the form of photos and text.

The photos were taken all over the world, from America to Japan, along several years. Some are of well known actors or directors, in unusually informal contexts. Some are of anonymous people and forgotten small towns. The accompanying texts (always short) are written as intimate recollections of scattered memories. This, combined with the almost "snapshot look" of many of the images, makes me feel as I'm going through a friend's album of travel photos while listening to his stories about each image.

Those photos are extraordinary because of what they have to tell.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tube

In my explorations with the new extension tube set, I discovered that cactuses have porous surfaces that come out wonderfully in close ups. Ok, probably every owner of a macro lens new this already... I'm starting to sound like a kid with a new toy.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tube

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Pentax K10D + DA* 16-50/2.8

Last Summer we (myself, wife and two kids) spent five days in three of the Azores Islands (Faial, Pico and S. Jorge). We were amazed at how each island had such distinct landscape features and cultural elements.

The daunting view of Pico's volcano was almost constant and is something I will never forget. These photos hardly do justice to how impressive is seeing that massive mountain rise above the ocean, alway surrounded by different shapes of clouds. We'll have to go back there after our kids grow older, so that they won't forget this view either.

Pentax K10D + DA* 16-50/2.8

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hiking with a camera

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8

I love hiking, even though I don't do it as often as I used to. Of course, I like to carry my camera with me. Back in the time of 35mm film, I had a Minox ML ("the smallest 35m ever made") as my second camera for hiking or just carrying around. I was always amazed at how this small little thing could take such sharp images.

Focusing was manual, based solely on the user's estimate of the distance to the subject. But at f8 and for landscape photography I couldn't go wrong. And that little collapsible lens was soooo cool! I took some of my best photos with this camera. I don't believe there is a digital equivalent nowadays. I mean, a small, resilient camera able to take high quality, high resolution, low noise images. And a classic squarish look would be nice too. The Sigma DP-1, for instance, didn't live up to its promise of becoming a small size alternative to a digital SRL.

Therefore, I have to carry my K10D and a couple of lenses with me. This means extra weight and volume. For short walks my good old Domke canvas bag has always worked fine and is quite inconspicuous. I load it with two or three lenses plus the camera body, sometimes a flash. But for longer hikes, having to carry water, food and a jacket, I need a backpack. I'm still unsure whether the best solution is a regular backpack adapted for carrying the camera + lenses or a specialized photo backpack adapted for carrying food + water. So far, I'll be carrying the camera and the lenses in my regular backpack, wrapped in a cloth, between the sandwiches and the bananas.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Macro photography

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tube

My extension tube set finally arrived, all the way from China (got it on Ebay). Needless to say, I spent most of the past weekend in the garden, leaning over flowers with the camera in hand. I tried to resist the temptation to just do extreme close ups of pretty flowers and hairy insects...

I like the next photo, with saturated colors and just a dash of sunlight on top of the flower.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tube

In macro photography, depth of field (DoF) is very narrow and closing the diaphragm beyond f11 causes noticeable loss of sharpness due to light diffraction (you can read a clear description of this phenomenon here). A creative way to overcome this might be using high apertures and selecting the focus plane wisely, so as to have a sharp portion of the image contrasting with a blurred surrounding, hopefully in an interesting composition.

Easier said than done... The next photos are three of my attempts at using a narrow DoF creatively.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 + extension tube

I confess I’m not yet very confident about the quality of the results. I like the second photo best, with the sharp edge of the leave contrasting with the “hand painted look” of the flower above. But in the third photo I find that the intense red-orange blur on the left diverts attention from the little flower lying on the tip of leave. The background should have been chosen more carefully.

I'll have to keep trying…

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Software choices

I shoot only in RAW. My workflow consists mostly of cropping (when necessary for improving composition), exposure correction, contrast adjustment (using the tone curve for a finer control) and, when converting to B&W, color tuning (making blue sky darker, for instance). I don't have much time (or interest) for heavy Photoshop-like processing, so I decided to go for a simpler software.

I've been using Silkypix 3.0 for RAW editing and conversion for over a year now. I chose it after comparing it against Bibble pro and DxO. I liked the straightforward interface and the quality of the results. I've also tried a Lightroom 2 demo recently. It's packed with fancy features, some quite useful, like a dodge/burning tool or a healing tool for dust speck removal. However, I found it sluggish and prone to crashes on my old trustworthy portable (Pentium 4, 3.2 GHz, 1 Gb RAM), so I'm sticking with Silkypix.

Silkypix 3.0

A major limitation with Silkypix, though, is the primitive photo management capability. To overcome that, I'm using Photo Mechanic 4.5 as image browser and cataloger. It is extremely fast sorting and previewing RAW files and Silkypix can be configured as an external editor.

Photo Mechanic 4.5

I know that most people are probably using Lightroom these days, but hey, I like being different (as long as I get the job done properly). I'm using a Pentax, remember?...

Oh and I almost forgot! For backing up my photos to an external hard drive I use Clone 2.1. It's a very simple little program that allows me to keep an updated backup copy of my RAW files.

Photographing the hard way

As I mentioned before, I have adapted manual focus lenses from my previous Contax SLR film system to the Pentax K10D. Not only focusing is manual, but the diaphragm cannot be operated by the camera anymore. Therefore, I have to do “stopped down” metering – the light is measured with the diaphragm manually closed to the position it’ll be at when the photo is taken. This turns the photographic process into a somewhat laborious, yet worthwhile, task:

1) Turn on the camera and select the lens focal length, so that the K10D’s Shake Reduction system can compute the appropriate stabilization amount to the sensor.

2) Frame and focus manually through the viewfinder, with the diaphragm open to at least f2.8. Even though I could, under bright lighting conditions, focus with the diaphragm closed (f8, for instance), this way I have better control over the location of the focus plane.

3) Manually close the aperture ring to the desired value. I do this without having to look at the ring, since I’ve memorized the sequence of stop numbers in the lens. The camera now displays the shutter speed computed for the light going through the diaphragm (I’m in Av mode).

4) Press the shutter button.

5) Check the histogram for correct exposure. The camera tends to overexpose heavily when the light is measured with the diaphragm closed beyond f4. -1.0 to -1.5 EV compensation is often necessary in contrasting light scenes. I believe this has to do mainly with the split prism focusing screen I’ve installed, which is affecting the light measurement. Its manufacturer (Katz Eye Optics) reports that evaluative metering (which I use) is not changed when using auto-aperture lenses with f5.6 or faster maximum apertures. The problem is that I’m using manual aperture lenses and the light has to be measured with the diaphragm closed (often at f8). However, I’m already accustomed to adjusting the compensation before taking the shot, taking into account the lighting conditions, and I obtain quite consistent and sufficiently accurate results.

6) Go back to step 2 for the next photo.

It seems hard, but it isn’t. Manual focusing is fast after some practice. Manually controlling the aperture ring forces me to think about which aperture I want to use before each shot. And since I have to close the diaphragm before taking the photo, I end up always seeing the actual depth of field and correct it if necessary. In the end, all this becomes part of a mental process that helps me stay aware of the different aspects of making a photograph.

“This might be fine for landscape, but what about action photography?” - the skeptical reader might ask. Well, I’m practicing that taking photos of my kids! So far, it’s been ok…

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8

This is, of course, a very subjective point of view and may not work well with others. I believe it’s worth trying, though. There are many excellent manual focus lenses for sale in the used market that can be mounted on digital SLRs. Adapters for different types of mounts are also widely available nowadays.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The last days of Summer (II)

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

When I first posted this photo I didn't intend to add any comment. However, I recalled that when browsing through other people's photo blogs, I find it interesting to read their comments on their own photos. Who knows, whoever might be reading this (hello?... is anybody out there?...) may find my comments of some interest.

This particular shot was taken in a seaside cafe in Northwestern Portugal, at sunset, in October. The days were still reasonably warm so we still felt that Summer was not completely over yet, except for the fact that all the tourists were gone. I liked the red-orange-blue color combination in the photo. I didn't have time to try many composition options, since I had to look over my kids (they kept insisting on leaning
dangerously over a parapet) and light was fading fast.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Death in the fields

Some photos are just asking to be black and white...

Pentax K10D + DA 18-55/3.5-5.6

We found this cow skull during a hike in the Douro region. It was so "picture-perfect" that I've actually considered bringing it home for using later on other photos... Nah!

Natural green

In Northwestern Portugal, Autumn does not bring very intense colors. Except for vineyards and some trees, a lot of the vegetation (pines and eucalyptus, for instance) remains green throughout the year. I long for those New England's Autumn colors, with unbelievable intense oranges, reds and yellows. I'll have to go back there some time (when I retire?...).

I've always thought that green foliage (around here at least) alone does not work well in photographs. I find it to be a cold, a bit unpleasant, color. The photo below was "saved", I think, by some patches of reddish-brown in the water, a few leaves and the roof top. These bring some warmth to the image.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


You don't take a photograph, you make it.

Ansel Adams, American landscape photographer (1902 – 1984)

You press the button and we do the rest.
Kodak slogan, coined by George Eastman in the late 19th century

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not very often

Back in the days of 35 mm slide film, I would estimate that about 20% of my photos were worth keeping and not even 1% of those would be marked for later re-evaluation and decision on Cibachrome print ordering. This would make my wife quite upset, seeing hundreds of badly exposed, out of focus, poorly composed slide photos being thrown in the trash. She always felt there had to be something worth keeping in there...

Very rarely, there was one photo that made me stare a few seconds at the lightbox and think "Wow! Did I take this shot?!"

Now, in these digital days, my wife does not know exactly how many photos I trash, but the estimates are pretty much the same, despite being able to rescue some badly exposed photos in post-processing.

Very rarely, there is one photo that makes me stare a few seconds at the monitor and think "Nice!"

Even more rarely, there are two photos in the same day that make me stare...

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4