Hitting the Road…Again

Well I’m headed out once again.  Since late April, I’ve been on the road more than at home.  And, it’s no different Thanksgiving weekend. I’m headed to Charleston, South Carolina to shoot and have some fun while I’m there.  For this trip I’m only packing my Fuji X-T2. For lenses I’m taking the Fuji 16-55 2.8 for the classic landscapes, the 50-140 2.8, my fabulous 18-55 2.8-4.0 to use when walking around town, and at the last minute I threw in the Zeiss 12mm 2.8/Touit.  I was actually taking some photos of the Zeiss in order to put it on eBay but decided last minute to take it with me one last time — I just wanted to give it one more shot (pun intended) before I list it for sale.  I’m leaving behind all the primes including my prized 16mm 1.4, plus my other 1.4 primes.  I’m also packing my Mavic Pro Platinum for some aerials, some spare drone and seven camera batteries plus some filters.  All of this fits in my Amazon Basic camera backpack which I have to say that for a whopping 39.95US has been used now over five years, and it’s still amazing!  Out of my twelve camera bags, it’s the bag that always hits the road with me.  The bag has a ton of room, plus a laptop pocket that holds  my 15″ MacBook – but on this trip only my 11″ MacBook Air is traveling with me in order to keep it light(er).

In addition to the Amazon backpack I’m also packing a small, lightweight Lowepro which holds my camera body with grip (if I choose to carry it)  and lens, plus an extra lens and my batteries.  It literally weighs ounces and I can fold it up and stick it in the outside pocket of my backpack or store it in my luggage.

So, I’ll be off now… Take care.  Have a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday for those of you that celebrate it.

 

 

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Fuji X-T2 Reset

Over the weekend I came to a conclusion.  And that conclusion was that I was unhappy with the images coming out of my X-T2 at higher ISO’s — I talking about 400 and above.  This is something I had been noticing over the past several months, Way too noisy, and the images just didn’t look good, or right to my eyes. I have been fiddling with controls and setting in a lame attempt to fix the issue by making incremental changes and nothing worked.  Finally, on Saturday, I did it.  I went into the menu system and did a complete system reset.  Done.  No more fiddling around, it was almost as it came out of the box!  Another setting I was getting tired of was my auto ISO setting whereas I had the ISO dial set to AUTO, and I used the front command dial to change the ISO on the fly. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I did to set that function, and I wanted it gone.  So the reset took care of it, and all my other functions I had set up over the last two years.  The results:  BACK to shooting bliss.  It took me quite a while to get some of my settings back and I had to go back to the manual a few times but my man oh man the change in image quality, and camera function is day and night difference!  Love it!  Seriously.  To my eyes the jpeg and the raw files look better – cleaner, less noisy;  I purposely shot at ISO 3200 and higher which I was avoiding, and I was very happy with the level of noise.  Again the difference is day and night after the reset.

So if you are having issues, maybe this is something you may want to consider.

Fuji’s two SD card slots – my way!

 

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Fuji X-T2, 23mm 1.4 laying in the sand, using the rear LCD

Since i received my X-T2 about two years ago I’ve been playing with the memory card configuration.  I’ve tried all the option:  Sequential, Raw/Jpeg, and Backup.

Sequential: It just works.  No worries.  Fill up the card in slot 1, and the camera automatically rolls over and begins using slot 2.  A no brainer there.  Great for casual shooting, and casual shooters — of which I’m neither.

Raw/Jpeg:  This is the option I’ve most often used.  I always shoot raw/jpeg anyway but wind up keeping the raw files, and deleting the jpegs 90% of the time.  This option makes it so much easier not having to load both jpeg/raw’s together.  I just pop the card containing the raw files out of the camera, and import my images into LR.  Easy enough.  The only problem I find is if the card containing the raw files is for some reason corrupted or somehow damaged I’m left with only the jpegs.  Now don’t get me wrong, the jpegs are nothing to sneeze at; as a matter of fact, the fuji jpegs are just amazing out of the box but as a travel, landscape and stock photographer I ‘really’ need those raw files.  Granted, I’ve been shooting digital since 2002 (back then using “Smartmedia” cards in my Fuji 4900z) and in all this time I’ve only had one card go bad on  me.  This particular CF card actually worked and I would have never, ever know it wasn’t working – that is – until I pulled the card out of my D700 at the time, uploaded the images to my computer and discovered that a Nikon raw file was missing every four-five images!  I would never had known this if I had just formatted the card, and went on my merry way.  This is why I always purchase, and test, test, test.  I wound up returning the card for a refund, but continued to use my other Transcend cards with full confidence.  Frankly, I think it was just a bad sector on the card, that formatting both in camera and in computer did not fix.

Backup:  This is it.  This is nirvana!  Yes.  I found it.  This week, after much trial and error and flip-flopping between the three methods I’ve decided to use this option going forward.  Even though I have not experienced a catastrophic card failure while out in the field, I still feel much better knowing that I have a “backup” of both jpegs and raw files on card 2.  The way I’ve set this up is to use a 32G card in slot 1 of the X-T2, and then use my 128G card as a backup in slot 2.  Yes, the backup card is massive; I normally would never, ever use a card this large in any camera but for backup?  Why not.

There are two very important reasons why using very large memory cards is not the most optimal solution:

  1.  Two cards, identical speeds, 32G and say 128G or 256G, the smaller card will ALWAYS write and read faster.  Proven point.
  2. Using smaller (32G) cards doesn’t put all your eggs in one basket.  If something happens – camera is stolen, you drop it in a lake while photographing beavers (been there, done that) at least you will only lose the images on the card at the time.  I recall a story from a workshop leader of a woman on a 10-day excursion into the Amazon.  She had one huge CF card in her camera.  On their last day there, they were at a local roadside cafe where she, for some reason, decided to pop out her memory card, and promptly dropped it in a puddle of water.  Images lost.  10 days worth.  So, no.  DO NOT place all your eggs in one basket.   Think of it this way:  You’ve paid for the gear, you’ve gotten yourself to a great location, got the images you came for.  Are you going to risk losing it all because it’s all on a single card?  Heck no.

So for me it’s now 32G in slot 1, and my 128G in slot 2 for backup purposes.  That 128G will stay in there until it’s full which means I can run through FOUR 32G cards in slot 1 before the 128G card needs to be wiped.  So my images will remain on there for the duration of the trip, or until I get home, upload them, and decide I’ve got what I need.

On another note, but along similar lines:  Once I have a card full, and it’s removed from the camera, that card is NEVER, EVER in the same location as any of my gear.  Why?  Because of the nature of my work, if my gear get’s stolen, or lost, the most important asset – the images – are safe, on my person.  In practice if I’m shooting all day, get back to my room and then decide to go out to get a bite to eat, sometimes the cameras stay in the room, however, the memory cards are with me.  The images I’ve taken become the most important asset to me after the cards are ejected from the camera.  I can replace the gear, but not the photos… At least that’s how I see it.

Hope this post helps you out now or in the future.  thanks for reading.

It’s been a while…

Waves wash over small stones grinding them smooth and creating p
Small waves wash around well worn stones on Martha’s Vineyard

I can’t believe an entire year has passed us by already!  It’s been amazing for sure!

Since mid-July I’ve shot in the Florida Keys, New York City, Maine, Canada/New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Martha’s Vineyard.   I’ve taken almost 16,000 images since I started and I am still culling just over 11,000 that I have to yet go through.  Once I complete the culling then I’ll edit the keepers, keyword, and start submitting to Getty Images and others that use my work.

In a few weeks I will compile the lists of lenses and how many images I made throughout the course of the year.  I can without a doubt tell you my Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8 is again, my least used lens.  As a matter of fact, I’m considering selling it before the end of the year.

 

 

Back from my Roadtrips

Hello everyone!

I’m back from several road trips to shoot stock and travel.  I’ve been to Maryland, Ohio, The Florida Keys,  New York, Maine, and Prince Edward island/Canada.

This was an amazing trip. Many, many wonderful people, and even more memories and images.

I thought I would share some stats with regards to the cameras, and lenses I used.

Here wo go:

First of all, my iPhone 7 Plus! I broke down and bought  the 7+, in Red, with 256G of memory.  The camera is amazing with the twin lenses; and I downloaded some apps including Camera+.  I shoot in raw (DNG) format and the quality is totally amazing!  I took a total of 1,771 iPhone images which is unbelievable for me as in all honesty I despised iPhone images.

On to the camera:  Of course I took the X-T2 with me.  That go’s without saying.  This is a recap from the metadata found in LightRoom.

 

Tout 12mm/2.8      690

Fuji 16mm 1.4     1336

Fuji 18-55 2.8-4   1671

Fuji 23mm 1.4       732

Fuji 35mm 1.4     1134

Fuji 55-200           2234

Fuji 60mm 2.4     2523

So, 10,320 images with the Fuji series, and 1,771 with the iPhone 7+

Now, I have the job of culling, then editing the images.  This’ll be fun!

As I go through Images I’ll post some here… I had a few up, but decided to take them down as I didn’t feel they did these various road trips any justice.

More To Come…

 

A Bad Day, and a Good day

On my way to the office this morning my car was rear-ended by the guy behind me, who was hit by someone behind him.  So, my car be totaled.  that’s the bad news.  The good news is I had my car flat bedded to my mechanics shop where, while he worked on it to make it safe, and drive-able, I photographed one of his new additions.  It’s a rusting hulk (soon to be restored) 1952 Ford Firetruck!  That’s the good news.

While waiting for my car I spent over an hour photographing this thing of beauty.  It was raining, misty, and the lighting gave the faded red paint, and the rust a soft, warm patina that is hard to duplicate.

Here is the first image I looked at tonight.  It’s with the X-T2, 35mm 1.4, handheld.  Processed the raw as a Classic Chrome, then I processed it in the FANTASTIC Acros film simulation.  I am so taken back by the image quality of the camera in general, and then the Acros is like the cherry on top!!

X-T2 Dual Card Slot (quick note)

I grabbed my X-T2 knowing I had taken out the SD card from slot 1 and I was very, very surprised when the camera fired off an exposure with only a SD card in slot 2.  Per my older blog post, if there is no card in slot 2, but only in slot 1, the camera locks up.

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Medical Helicopters. Acros + red Filter, X-T2, 35mm 1.4 lens. What an outstanding combo!

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to a Lens Firmware Update

Well, maybe not funny, but interesting from my perspective.  I downloaded into separate folders on my desktop Fuji’s latest firmware updates for my lenses so I’d be ready to run the updates on Saturday morning.  So, here I sit, early morning, coffee in hand, ready to go.

Without giving it much thought how did I decide to install the updates?  Least used lens FIRST; So, here’s my order from least favorite to favorite:  23 1.4,  35 1.4 (though i LOVE this lens),  then the 16mm 1.4, and finally my all-time favorite, don’t leave home without it lens:  the 18-55.

Not a hugely massive post, but I found it interesting how I picked them without even thinking about it!

Lil Bit of Camera Porn This Morning

This is my X-T1, and my D800e.  I was cleaning out my gear after returning from a road trip and had placed them on a coffee table.  They were both begging to be photographed!

So I complied with their wishes.  Take a look at the size differential!!  Yeah, yeah I know the 800e has the battery grip but that’s how I use it 99% of the time.  The X-T1 does not as I like to keep it lightweight.

My wife wonders why I always grab the Fuji — Wonder no more.