Balcony view: Fort Lauderdale

I arrived on the first leg of my trip in Fort Lauderdale Florida. My room has an amazing view of a marina. This image is from my balcony as I eat my dinner of Cuban takeout – mmmmm.  Yum

Taken handheld with my iPhone 7 plus

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Shark Hunting, Key West

We had a Catamaran for a half day out of Key West.  There were eight of us on the boat;  we headed out in search of sharks and, well we found them!  or, I should say they found us!  We were in about six feet of water, and about 4-5 miles out.  And yes, only six feet of crystal, clear water.  Just gorgeous views with glassy seas.  Here are some images…

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Feeding Frenzy – 4 sharks, shallow water. 55-200
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Glassy Smooth Seas. 18-55 @ 18mm

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…

 

My Queue is Finally Empty

After eleven months my new photos queue in Lightroom is empty.  I’ve filed away into their appropriate folders, edited whatever was needed, prepared those images going to stock sales, and submitted at least 70% of the ones I had selected to go out.

But the best part is:  The Queue is EMPTY!  Since September 2015 I’ve had images in that folder awaiting review, editing, keywording among other things.  Now it’s all done.

However, tomorrow I leave for a few days of photography; this time it’s for myself more than work related stock and travel.  I plan on experimenting with Panoramics, HDR, and long exposure among other things.  We shall see what I return with.  If I can post from the road, I will.

Tonight I’ll be selecting the gear I plan to take.  Since this is a car trip, with the exception of when we go off into the woods for a hike, the gear should pretty much stay put in the back seat in my backpack so I think I’ll probably pack everything PLUS the kitchen sink.  As always, I’ll have a couple of smaller messenger bags that are always with me for those times when i’m off on a walking adventure.

 

As I walked to my car this morning…

I parked in my reserved spot, picked up my bag, slung it over my shoulder and headed to the office. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks!  The X-T1 and several lenses are so light I hardly feel it!

In the mornings when I leave home I usually have over my shoulder a Fossil leather bag –  In it I keep my Macbook Air, my yogurt for lunch, and some basic file folders.  In itself the Fossil bag is rather lightweight.  I’ve had it since 2007 and it is still an amazing piece of luggage that I proudly use in my daily life.  Every now and then I’ll stick a Jill-E insert in the bag and carry my X-T1 with me.

Today, I packed a small $30.00 bag I found on Amazon.  It’s called the Lowepro Exchange Messenger for dSLR kit and essentials.  Here’s the link.  I bought this wonderful bag in July of 2013 when a very good friend of mine and I took a three day tour around coastal Maine; he carried his two Leica’s and assorted lenses in this bag.  After seeing how light it was, and the fact I was able to store it flat pretty much anywhere I decided to purchase one right there and then and so I did.

Today I’ll be away from home for a couple of days but had to go into the office first; Instead of my Fossil leather bag I instead packed my LowePro.  In the bag I loaded up my X-T1, the 18-55 lens, the 16mm F1.4 lens, the 23mm 1.4 lens, the Fuji EF-42 Flash with four batteries, and an extra two Fuji batteries for the camera, and my lunch.  The bag has very deep pockets, one has a zipper for additional security; normally, that would be where I store my SD wallet but since the X-T1 is packing a 32G card that allows for over 700 jpeg+raws I didn’t bother bringing any more along.

When I arrived at the office and picked up the bag out of my car with the always present Macbook Air I had to do a double-check to make sure I packed what I needed!  It was that light.  I remember the days pre-Fuji when I carried my Nikon D800 or D700, plus Nikon glass — or better (or worse) yet when I carried my Mamiya 645AFD medium format!  Heck, going back a bit further my old RB67.  Now that was a beast.  I actually smiled as I walked down the Philadelphia streets to my office.  It absolutely does makes a huge difference carrying a smaller mirrorless camera.  I don’t care if it is a Fuji, Sony, Olympus — whatever floats your boat, just try one!  I do not miss my dSLR’s or MF at all! Since I haven’t printed larger thant 24″x 20″ I haven’t needed more megapixels.  If I did, I can always work some photoshop magic though I try very hard to stay out of PS. CORRECTED – SEE LAST TWO PARAGRAPHS ADDED AFTER THIS WAS PUBLISHED!

With that being said I am awaiting the arrival of the X-T2.  As I am a travel, and stock photographer the 24mp sensor keeps me ahead of the curve and my images relevant when a clients wants a bit extra oomph.  Usually we can show them that 16.3mp is more than enough but at times, they are rather adamant about larger files.  If it were not for that I wouldn’t be upgrading at all!  With regards to the rumors here of a potential Fuji medium format camera my first questions are not resolution or megapixels but how big is it going to be?  What is the weight of the system?  How about lens weight? I am now totally spoiled by the compactness, and the image quality coming from my Fuji system and I would not go back, ever, to a Nikon or any other brand.

So, when I leave my office later this afternoon and head south for a couple of days I’ll still be grinning like a Cheshire cat!

I was going to end this post here then FedEx came in.  I sent out an image to be printed a while back and I just received it!  It’s a 30 x 20″ print of an image that was processed from a RAF file into a 95mb TIFF in Lightroom.  I thought about processing it in Iridient which I own but decided i would process it in the same app that I use for 99% of all my editing work.

Here, I’ve laid it across our conference room table in order to flatten it somewhat.  But I have to say it looks amazing!  I can COUNT the grains of sand, and you can as well just from these two iPhone images!  This is 30″ x 20″ and I think I can go up to 40″ plus so that will be the next round of tests.  I performed this print test to see how far I can push 16.3 megapixels.  I have to say, these results are truly amazing.  I’ve taken my glasses off and pressed my nose and eyes very close and it’s well, trust me:  amazing!FullSizeRender 2

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in this image, taken with the X-T1 and the Unbelievable 16mm 1.4 you can count the grains of sand flowing as the water ebbs, under the shell, and throughout the image. It’s that clear here even though I used an iPhone for these two

Enjoy the rest of your day.

 

 

I’m outta Hea-ah…. The Gear reviewed

One more week.  One more week.  One more week.

Some images of the gear I’ll be taking and how it’s all packed.  I think I’ve swapped bags two-three times now but I believe this will be the final configuration. Keep in mind this is a 10-day ROAD trip except for three days when I’ll be on a boat and an island.  So, for those three days, since there is no electric all the chargers and other stuff in the red pouch and probably the laptop stays in the car or on the mainland hotel room.  The camera gear, and one of the drives, probably the primary, will come with me in addition to all my gear and food I’ll need for three days.

Next year, I’ll be spending several weeks in Alaska.  That will require a flight I’m guessing that I’ll probably ship via UPS most of my gear including the tripods and clothing, and only take on board the aircraft the camera gear.  I did this the last time I was shooting out in the Southwest and it worked out perfectly!

On a quick note I do plan to post images here daily except for the three days when i won’t have any cell, or wi-fi service.  In addition I’m thinking about showing which lens was used on that day.  Of course these will be gross numbers at first, not based on keepers just total shutter presses.

PLEASE PARDON THE IPHONE IMAGES.  NOT SHOWN:  Stack of Business cards!

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The Bag that I’ve decided to take as the primary carry-all camera gear bag: the Gootium 21218 Canvas & Leather Cross Body Messenger from Amazon. $29.99US. ONE OF THE BEST BAGS I’VE EVER CARRIED CAMERA GEAR IN PERIOD! So many pockets and nooks and crannies I love this thing! It has SIX, count ’em SIX outside pockets! Each one has a purpose which I’ll demonstrate as we go through the gear.
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Outside Pocket ONE. Not closable. Giotto Blower, Flashlight (Torch for our overseas friends) Rotroring Pen. Deep Inside: Tripod Plate. Moleskin Notebook. Fuji RR90 Remote. Right next to this pocket, Pocket TWO I keep my Tiffen Filter Pouch which I’ll break down in another image further down.
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Pockets THREE AND FOUR: These close with a tab. Here, I keep those items that I won’t be accessing on a regular basis. In my case: Thinktank SD/CF Card holder with 394Gigs of 32 and 16G cards in pocket #3. In Pocket #4, four extra batteries in a Thinktank battery pouch. Again since I don’t have to access these items as much as the others the pockets will be clasped shut.
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Inside the bag, in order to give it some structure, is another Amazon Item – the Jill-E Design #340993 Camera bag Insert in Black with three dividers (it comes with more) And yes it’s filthy with sand, and dirt. It needs a vacuuming out. Inside is a zippered pocket that will hold wallet, keys, phone whatever you can throw in there.
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Clockwise: Rotring Pen & Moleskin Notebook. Zeiss 12mm F2.8 no lens shade. Fuji 35mm F1.4 w custom lens hood. Giotto Blower. Pen camel Hair Brush. Tiffen Filter Pouch (open) with two Polarizers in top pockets. Bottom two pockets contain step-up rings to bring ALL lenses up to my 77mm filter size. 77mm Singh-Ray Warming Polarizer. Tiffen 3-stop ND filter, B+W 10 Stop ND filter. Think tank SD/CF card holder with 394G of SD Cards. Four spare batteries. Fuji X-T1 with the 18-55 lens and custom lens shade. Fuji 55-200 with custom shade. 23mm F1.4 with custom shade. 16mm 1.4 no lens shade. Sirius Tripod Plate for full-size tripod. Also packed a smaller plate for my folding travel sirius tripod. Fuji RR90 Remote
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Camera and Lenses left to right: Zeiss Touit 12mm 2.8. Fuji 16mm 1.4. 23mm F1.4. 35mm 1.4. 55-200. X-T1 with the 18-55 lens. Yes, that is a Nikon lens cap on the 18-55. I go through lenscaps all the time so I buy them by the pound. I don’t care what it says on the front. Whatever is cheap. All the lens shades/hoods are custom. They are all screw-on, and the lenscaps all fit.
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The loaded messenger bag zippered and buttoned down for travel. Again: this bag is amazing. I’ve owned it for two/three years now and it goes with me wherever I travel. At each end of the bag are two more pockets. Number FIVE and SIX. Pocket Five – which clasps shut securely contains my Zeiss 12mm F2.8, and Pocket Six contains the 16mm F1.4. Inside are the rest of the lenses and the X-T1 with my go-to lens, the 18-55
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This Lowepro Exchange Messenger Bag has three dividers. It’s very deceiving as it also has very slim pockets on the outside – and one of them has a zipper for car keys, documents, etc. I am folding this bag up and taking it in my luggage as a bag I’ll use when I want to walk around and travel light with the camera and a couple of lenses. This bag is from Amazon, though currently unavailable I think it was like $30.00
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Ditto. Same as above. It has the two squeeze clasps for the top lid that covers everything including the outside pockets. Very inconspicuous.
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In a separate medium size LL Bean pouch – which is water resistant outside, and soft thick protective sheepskin inside I carry the following Two USB3.0 Cables. AData 1TB Travel Backup Drive. AData 1TB Travel Primary Drive. iPad SD card Apple connector (may stay behind if I don’t take the iPad) Cigarette lighter adapter for the Wasabi Battery chargers. Wall plug with two USB ports for phones and other use. Phone charger cable – this in addition to the one I keep in my car to charge on the road. SD/CF LExar USB3.0 card reader. Two Wasabi Battery chargers. 11.6″ Macbook Air, 256SSD, 16G, with identical software that I have on my desktop and other laptop. I also have presets that upon importing images from the SD cards they go to the primary external HD. At the same time, a duplicate copy is placed on the backup drive. One drive will always be with me at all times, the backup will remain in the vehicle, or the hotel safe. The MacAir has an identical pouch but larger for it to fit in.

Fuji X-T1 Musings

This blog is free to me. I sell nothing.  I offer my opinion only and you don’t have to accept anything I say. As a matter of fact I would appreciate if you didn’t — you should try it for yourself to see if it fits you, if it works for you.   I feel sorry for all the bloggers out there who have to post everyday and many times more than once per day just to get the “clicks”. How do they do it?  I couldn’t keep up!

I read many blogs – these open up automatically when I crank up Safari first thing in the morning.  Some days it’s interesting stuff but most days though it’s either old news, regurgitated crap that’s being re-blogged many times whether it’s accurate or not.

Many folks depend on the advertising revenue from their blog work.  Me?  Nope.  Any ads that appear on this site are courtesy of whoever the heck owns WordPress; I could care less.  I’m under no pressure.  I post or write when I want and what I want.  I am indebted to no one.  Would I want to generate income from my posts you ask?  Nope.  I’m perfectly happy where I am now.  I post when I want.  I photograph what I want.  I go where I want.  I’m under no direct pressure to create, or write unless it is self-imposed.

In a few weeks I’ll be headed out again for another 10 days of stock and personal photography.  This particular trip will be a very intimate journey for me as I haven’t been back to this particular location since 1974.  It was me, my trusty Minolta SRT-101, a 28mm 2.8 Telestar wide, and a Minolta 135mm F3.5 plus about ten rolls of 36 exposure, Kodacolor 100 print film.  Yes. Print film.  Since my dad was paying, he refused to buy me any slide film as he wanted to physically see the 3 x 5 prints after developing them at the local outlet.  The memories that brings back!  Oh, and I forgot to mention my parents and my sisters tagged along as I was only 16 at the time.

The area I’m headed to is my “mecca”.  This is the place I’ve wanted to visit for years now, just I never was able to get away for that amount of time.  Of course the location has changed drastically in all these years –  but who cares?  It is still a gorgeous, tropical location as far as I’m concerned.

In upcoming posts before I head out I’ll talk about what gear I’m taking with me, probably illustrated with some photos of it.  I find that if I post images, that I’m less likely to take extra gear;  As I lay out the gear for the photo I constantly question myself why I’m taking a particular piece of equipment. If I can’t justify it, it remains behind.

As this is a road-trip, albeit a long, long road trip weight limitations won’t matter much — except I’ll be out on an island for 3 days and the boat I’ll be on has a 60lb limitation per person so that may cause an issue.  This weight restriction includes all the camping and survival gear as there are no facilities – such as cell service, wi-fi, medical aid, water, bath, nothing. Zip.  Nada.  This location is about 75 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico so I’m truly excited at trying my hand at some night photography without any light pollution.

At this point I’m fairly decided on using my X-T1 as my primary camera.  That means it literally and figuratively won’t leave my side.  I anticipate shooting with this camera all the time.  As my backup I am packing the Nikon D800 and ONE single lens: the 18-35G series which is incredibly versatile and tack sharp on the D800.  I am dedicating one single 32G memory card to the D800 which will provide around 280+ jpegs + raw images, and the balance of the 15 other 32G and 16G cards to the X-T1.

After my last trip a couple of weeks ago when I went up to New England, I found myself grabbing the X-T1 for about 70% of the images taken.  The X-T1 is just so user friendly, and fun to use!  The EVF and LCD show you what you are about to capture, in whatever flavor of film simulation and settings you’ve selected.  Also, before I left for my trip I turned on the focus scale so I know how far out my focus is in feet, and also the DOF the particular aperture I’ve chosen will produce.  As I’m just getting into the hyper focal focusing thing I really need to explore that further as it may have some use.  My go-to film simulation – Astia – it is just so perfect for me I created a LR import that takes all the raw files and applies the Astia film simulation on import; in addition to the film mode, I also have my sharpening set according to the Pete Bridgwood method of sharpening the X raw files.  His method has proven to be a lifesaver! I can now edit my images in LR and not have to go out to Iridient, or Silkypix to do so.  I also very much like the color the LR produces as I find the Iridient and Silkypix to be a bit too warm for my taste – but that’s my opinion — and yes both my screens – an Apple display, and a NEC 27″ are all calibrated and set correctly.  The one and only issue I may possibly have is chimping on the LCD screen in the extremely bright sun light.  I am taking with me a large dark blue handkerchief that I use as a head band that I can drape over me – view camera style – to double check I’ve captured the frame as I want.  That is, unless I chimp in the EVF but that is just too uncomfortable for me.

I will say that during my recent trip to New England, whenever I grabbed the D800 to photograph anything my main concern was whether the image would be sharp or not.  Honestly who wants to grab a piece of equipment and have to worry about whether it’ll deliver the goods?  Certainly not me.  However the D800 files, when the camera, and it’s operator are in sync and work the way they should, are just glorious in size and detail.  Certainly can’t argue with the quality of the files –  They are just amazing.  However, the 16MP X files hold up to enlargements pretty darn well.  An image I photographed on January 1, 2015 at sunrise of the Portland Head Lighthouse (see it here)  recently sold as a matted and framed 30″ x 20″ print that looks stunning.

Well enough ramblings for now.