Death at the Opera Marta Beckets Amargosa Opera House

When we was driving through Death Valley in California we got to Death Valley Junction and saw a little hotel. So we popped in for a cup of tea and got talking to the lady working there. Now Death Valley Junction is a very strange ghost town and she gave us a wee tour about the hotel and started telling us all the ghost stories and the very interesting story of the ballerina Marta Becket and how she came to start her opera house Amargosa. Story was she was passing through Death Valley back in the day when it was a thriving town, took a liking to the town and hey presto started up her opera house.

Of course now Death Valley has become a ghost town since the mining came to an end and rail road stopped running. We got a wee tour of the old opera house and this is a photo taken with my Nikon D800. A 5 bracket shot with editing in Photoshop.

Death at the Opera - Marta Beckets Amargosa Opera House
Death at the Opera – Marta Beckets Amargosa Opera House

Sony A7R Cheapest Full Frame pro camera ?

The Sony A7R is a lot of camera for an extremely low price. When my Nikon D800 died for the third time I decided to make the switch to mirrorless. I had been tempted by the small form factor for some time and on paper the Sony A7R is actually a slightly better camera then my old D800 but minus the weight. Having done a lot of travel photography over the years with my D800 I was finding it cumbersome and I knew that I was no longer enjoying the experience of lugging so much weight around across country, the thought of having everything I needed in a much smaller, compact size was becoming much more appealing to me.

I was able to pickup one of the last A7R’s at my local Jessops store in Glasgow for £795. Which was an absolute steal of a price, and even against the newer A7Rmk11 I preferred the smaller A7R. I liked the fact the A7R had the electronic view finder which meant I had no worries of light coming in when doing long exposures and I did not need the extra megapixels of the newer model nor that extra price tag.

Ive always been a manual focus shooter and I loved how easy the peaking focus was on the Sony A7R and of course that meant I could use all the old and wonderfully cheap film lenses like the Minoltas.

Having now been shooting with the Sony A7R for a few months now my only regret is not making the change sooner, I know my last big road trip across South East Asia would have been so much more fun and productive if I had the little Sony instead!

For less then a £100 I picked up a few older lenses all of which I find a real pleasure to use and have produced some tremendous photos.. really can’t fault them at all.

Sony A7R Camera
Sony A7R Camera

How to get really sharp photos?

When a few years back I started shooting film again one of the first things that surprised me when using Photoshop to tidy up my film scanned photos was that I noticed there was very little to be had through sharpening. Unlike digital photos film is as sharp as a pin to begin with if you have good lenses.

Even with my Nikon D800 and the Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 (one of the sharpest lenses) you can still gain a huge amount through sharpening. Or also take a cheaper lens like the Samyang 14mm Ultra-Wide, apply some basic sharpening through Photoshop and your images can easily look just as sharp as the Nikkor 14-24mm.

If like me you put your work on social media like Facebook you will find that Facebook compresses your photos a lot. So with Facebook I will sharpen my images a little more when uploading to there and I find that works best.

So whats the best way to sharpen photos?

Theres actually a number of ways you can sharpen photos and as with pretty much everything you do within Photoshop theres always many ways to do that within Photoshop.

But the one which I tend to use the most and find produces the best results is Freaky Amazing Details. FAD, is one of the more complex ways but it’s well worth learning as does yield some great results. Check the video below to see how it’s done.

Most Expensive Cameras in the World

Nikon D4S

Type Single-lens reflex digital camera
Lens mount Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)
Effective angle of view Nikon FX format
Effective pixels
Effective pixels 16.2 million
Image sensor
Image sensor 36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)
Total pixels 16.6 million

Canon 1DX

18.1 MP full frame CMOS sensor
Up to 12fps plus 14fps High speed mode
100-51200 ISO, up to H:204800
61 point AF system
100,000 pixel RGB AE metering
Full HD 1080p EOS movie
Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors
Clear View II 8.11 cm (3.2”) 1,040k LCD
Ethernet port

Hasselblad Lunar

Pentax 645Z

Leica M240

Leica S Typ 007

Hasselblad H5D 50C

Phase One XF IQ3

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