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…

 

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My First Image with the new….

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The tack sharp and reasonably fast  Fujifilm 60mm 2.4 Macro.  Why’d I buy that you ask?  Well I’ll tell ya pardner.

I was considering the 50mm F2.  At 449.00 on Amazon it seemed like a good buy;  except, like it’s two other siblings – the 23F2 and the 35F2 its just freakin’ ugly.  Plain and simple.  I knew the 60 F2.4 Macro was what I needed even though I have the extension tubes for my camera.  Anyway the 60 2.4 was a tad high priced at 679 or 699.00 US – I can’t remember which.

Anyway, I’m shopping the web and came across a deal for a brand new, boxed 60mm for $479.00!  I couldn’t pass it up!  I killed two birds with one stone – actually  more as I’m getting a slightly longer focal length; better looking lens, crystal clear and tack sharp lens at that!  And I saved over $200.00 to boot — or if I look at it logically, because I would not have purchased the 60mm for the 699 price tag, I got a dual purpose lens for the same price as the 50mm!

I just received it last night and this image here was one of my first seven images with the lens on my X-T2.  I have yet to play with it at length.  Light was dwindling fast, but on everything I shot on my walk around the block focusing was reasonably fast.  Now, when I went inside and tried to take some images there, it is darn slow.  I mean creepy crawly slow.  I’m ok with that as I knew what I was getting into so no big deal here.  But man o man is it slow.  LOL.  Once it locks on it’s razor sharp.  Do I wish it were faster?  Heck yes but I did not purchase this lens for speed, but for the clarity, sharpness, and close-focusing capabilities so I am thrilled with it!

The image above is from the raw file.  No adjustments other than sharpening.  And it’ll make you bleed if you get too close.

I’m in love!  I can’t wait to take it out for a real spin.

 

The Amazing 18-55 Fuji Lens

I have written about the Fuji 18-55 in the past.  However, on New Years Day i was shooting up in Old Orchard Beach in Maine using this wonderful little lens.  It’s lightweight, solidly built, and oh so darn sharp!

As proof how sharp this this little puppy is, check out this screenshot of my lightroom image of Old Orchard Beach at 200%  — Yes.  200% !! This is the raw file, Sharpened with 100% details, 41 pts of sharpening.  Then below it is the full screen!  Now, look at that sharpness and clarity!!  I can read the Shipyard Beer sign out on the pier and that isn’t even dead center; more like top center!

Would the 16-55 2.8 be sharper?  Meh.  Maybe.  But this is pretty darn freakin’ sharp for me, and the weight/size savings alone are, to me, worth the tiny loss of sharpness. I’d rather be more light and mobile.  Your mileage may vary.

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2016 In my Rear View Mirror

2016 was a rockin’ year!  I received the blessing of a 3rd Grandson which is the grandest of all gifts.  Stock sales, though down in the market overall, I made up for in volume!  What that means is a ot of more work, for basically a small increase in income.  Volume rules at this point; gone are the days of licensing an image for 40 – 50 bucks when anyone can go online and pick up an image for a quarter.  Oh well, such is life.

On another but related note I am now dSLR free.  It’s a double-edge sword and my feelings are torn.  I sold the last of my Nikon gear – being the D800e and a 50mm 1.8 lens.  I am now all in on Fuji with the X series cameras and lenses.  Will I miss those glorious 36 megapixel files?  At times I’m sure I would but in order to have those files, I had to shoot them, and in all honesty, as you can see by the stats I rarely used the camera!

So, here is a re-cap of my 2016 stats, cameras first, then lenses.

  • Nikon D800e:  1,371 keepers
  • Fuji X-T1:  4,117 keepers
  • Fuji X-T2: 4,503 keepers (purchased in September 2016!!)
  • 16mm F1.4: 1,514 keepers
  • 18-55 2.8-4.0 Zoom (my don’t leave home without it lens) 1,489
  • 23mm F1.4: 1,094 keepers
  • 35mm F1.4: 2,256
  • Fuji 55-200 Zoom:  2057 keepers
  • Zeiss 12mm F2.8: 135 keepers.  Most unused lens, but when you need it you need it!

That’s pretty much it for my year. Hears hoping to a profitable, successful and FUN 2017.

Happy New Year

 

 

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!!

100, 200% Satisfied

A couple of images here.  My grandson, Jonah.  First is the original image (from raw). I shot the entire day with the 35mm F1.4, The X-T2, Acros + G filter.  This is the JPEG from the raw file, processed in Classic Chrome.

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Now below is the SCREENSHOT of the same image, at 200 PERCENT as viewed on a 46″ display!  You can see me, and Jonah’s dad in his eyes!!!  Dang…….

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Last Nights Amazing Sunset

I’m sitting at home glancing out the windows and notice the sky has cleared up.  I’m also noticing some amazing wispy clouds floating by.  So it’s like 7pm, sunset is at 7:40p and I grab my gear and shoot out the door.   As I’m flying downtime two-lane road I’m thinking I’m going to miss the best part of the sunset as I see the sky lighting up around me.  Well, I arrived at the Marshall Point Lighthouse with about 10 minutes to spare and quickly grab my gear;  unfortunately, my tripod was in my other car which my wife was driving.

From my backpack, as I didn’t have time to swap my gear into one of my shoulder bags I grabbed my X-T1,with the 18-55, and the 16mm 1.4.  That’s all I used during this amazing display of light and shadow.  The image stabilizer on the 18-55 lens truly helped nail a few images as some of my handheld exposures were in the 1/7th to 1/15th of a second.

As it got darker and darker I swapped to the faster 16mm 1.4 and used that — even though I had to push the ISO up to the 800 level.  I am so far very happy with my results from last night.  More images to come from St. George Island soon!

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Just Say “NO” To the Fancy Bag

Little bit of humor here.  Ok.  Maybe not.  I’ve said it before both here, and elsewhere these man bags such as the Billinghams, and the other fancy bags do have a place in the workplace, but not in the field.  Quite frankly I never seen any of these hipsters who carry these fancy uncreased bags around cosmopolitan town even going out into the field in their tight-ass pants, and loafers.  Oh. Sorry, ranting again.  Give me a break guys.  Buying a camera bag, a lousy camera bag for $300 dollars and up, to put it down in dirt and mud, and snow, or wet sand and saltwater?  No.  Not for me.  And I doubt any of these fancy bag toters do either.  Many just want to look cool as they slowly extricate their fancy cameras out of the well-oiled bags to take that selfie, or the foodie shot, then Oh so cool, slide the camera in for another week of storage.  Give me a break.

Now, here in the photo is a true working bag.  This bag cost me $29.95.  It’s canvas.  Cloth.  Period.  Inside is a 3 velcro pocket Jill-E insert for $10.00.  See all that gear?  That’s what I packed yesterday for a short day hike into a bamboo forest. It has SIX (6) pockets just on the OUTSIDE!

I’ve included some images here so you can see what can be accomplished with minimal gear.  Oh, BTW, all of these images, and many more are already for sale on Shutterstock as of 5:00am Sunday morning. Yeah. I’m fast and the X-T1 files, couples with the amazing lenses don’t require a lot of post.

So, if you want to look like a coffee-shop dwelling Brooklyn broke hipster who shoots food, and selfies, go ahead and get yourself a Billingham, or “billingmuch” as I call them, if you want to make yourself useful get yourself a real bag.  Try the think tank series.  Either that, or get the hell out of my way as I make my images.

Thank you.  Rant over.  I’ve now taken cover and am ready for the rebuttals as to how great these expensive bags are other than for image enhancement, like botox…

After 2 Years, 3 Months, 20 Days…

Finally!!! A camera strap for my X-T1! YAY! I found one I can get behind! The Peak Design Leash Camera Strap! Yes, over two years without a strap; well, not actually without. I’ve tried several. I tried my “UpStrap” that I removed off my D700 and D800 bodies before I sold them – they were way too heavy and unwieldy for the X-T1. I transferred my Gordy’s Camera strap from my X-E1 – then I lost it somewhere. No idea when. I then invested in a Black Rapids camera strap that attaches to the camera’s tripod socket; very nice, bright orange, not very subtle; not for me. (and it’s available for sale to anyone in the US if you are interested).

I was looking for something that was lightweight. Strong. Thin. Low profile. That I, a large fella can wear as a sling strap without the strap being under my armpit and that was comfortable and soft. A strap that was easy to put on and remove when using a tripod. While reading a blog somewhere on the web and saw an advertisement for this Peak Design strap and I figured why not? It has yet to be tried out in the field but after using it around the house, and out in the yard while doing some work it is extremely comfortable! I found rave reviews, and after watching some Youtube videos I decided to purchase it. The only hesitation I had before pulling the trigger was the mention about the “seatbelt” material used in the strap — well, if you’ve ever had a seatbelt chaff your neck you know it’s not very comfortable so I don’t understand why they use that as a description because this strap feels more like soft cotton. It is extremely comfortable and soft and NOTHING like a seatbelt type material.

As you can see in the photos I’ve attached mine to use as a sling type of strap; however, it can be used as a shoulder, neck, sling, or hand. It comes with several of those slide things which are very, very secure. The strap is thin, but not so thin that it would cause pressure on the shoulders; I’ve used it with the 16mm 1.4 which is a rather hefty lens and the X-T1 and I felt no discomfort at all.

Please note I paid for my strap and I receive nothing from Peak Design or anyone for this review. Thanks for reading!

Quick Day Trip to Washington DC

A few days ago my grandson wanted to travel to DC and see the White House since he had been studying about it in school.

The night before we left for DC I packed my gear into my very lightweight Lowerpro bag with my X-T1, 18-55, 16mm 1.4 and the 12mm 2.8 lens, plus three batteries.
Wednesday morning, as I swung my legs out of bed I questioned my choices.  I’m taking my grandson to DC; this was not going to be a photo trip, this was bonding and family time.
Before my first cup of coffee, I unpacked the bag I had packed the night before.  I decided  to only take my 16mm 1.4 and the 35 1.4 plus three batteries.  That’s it.  I put the black rapid strip on the X-T1 with the 16 1.4, and put the 35 in my pocket with the extra batteries. As always, jpeg fine larger + Raw were the selected modes.  I don’t leave home without my raw setting even though for all the family images I kept the jpeg’s and dumped the raw files.  For those images I thought would make good stock, I keep the raw.
Washington DC was nothing less than I expected;  a huge, crowded, traffic filled, congested mess of cars, black SUV’s, police and security everywhere.  However, traveling with my oldest daughter and both grandsons was just pure joy.  We had a great time, saw a bunch of sites, and my grandson was super excited to finally see what he was studying in kindergarten.
Here are a few images that are already for sale on the stock site, plus a couple of family pics.  Traveling light was a joy.  Not having to worry about the gear, and bag was great.  Having two lenses made my imaging process so much easier and faster, and I remained more focused on having fun and at the same time making some wonderful personal images, as well as some great sellable grab shot images.