Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fuji v Fuji: What to do?

What next?

My primary camera is my X-T2.  My backup camera is my older X-T1.  But if I’m on my bicycle or just want a camera for easy and immediate access that requires no extra thinking about what lens to use, I’ll be holding my X-100F, and it gets a lot of use.  I love using it and it never lets me down.  I might let it down, but that’s another story.

So, along comes the X-E3.  I wondered if I could afford to upgrade my backup camera with it.  As I thought about it, I started to wonder if I would want to replace my X100F with it also, heretical as that might seem.  I thought I could use the 27mm f2.8 on the E3 and have something close, though how close I don’t know, to the X100F.  Replacing the X-T1 with the X-E3 is an easy choice.  I ordered the E3 and it arrived today.

I’ve put the 27mm pancake on it and did a size comparison.  These photographs show the two cameras side by side.  The differences are obvious though not great.  The E3 is slightly smaller.  But, is that enough to justify giving up the X100F?  No. But I like the idea of having only two cameras rather than three.  That’s meaningful to me.  I don’t use the OVF much at all so I could live without it.  The X100F 23mm lens is sharper than the 27mm.  Whether it’s enough to be meaningful at the practical level remains to be seen.  The X100F 23mm lens is f2 and the 27mm is f2.8.  That’s not too much to worry about.  I could live with the slightly slower lens.  The X100F has a leaf shutter.  I can live easily enough without that.  But, the X100F focuses much closer than the 27mm can.  That is significant to my style of shooting.  I like to get close and I photograph small, sometimes very small, scenes and details.  And, lastly and obviously, the X100F is simpler.  No lenses need to be changed.  Zoom in and out with my feet.  That’s easy.  It’s all a bit easier with the X100F.

Am I ready to simplify by going to just 2 cameras?  Do I want to keep the simplicity of my X100F?  Addressing these two questions about simplification in one direction or another is complicated.  I’ll use both and see what happens.

 

Fuji v Fuji Fuji v Fuji-2 Fuji v Fuji-3 Fuji v Fuji-4

Seeing In Sixes

     July 15, 2016

The magazine LensWork requested submissions from readers for a book titled Seeing In Sixes.  Each submission was to consist of exactly 6 photographs that worked together as a set or told a story.  Fifty sets were to be selected and were to be published as a book in September.  I was one of about 1200 individuals who submitted almost 2000 sets of 6 images.  I was happily surprised to have 1 of the 2 sets I submitted selected to be included in the book.  I cannot imagine a more meaningful recognition of my work.

My set presented 6 photographs of decaying, damaged leaves that had been buried by winter’s snow.  What caught my interest at first was simply the detail and texture in each small scene.  As the effort evolved, I began to see these leaves as metaphors for our troubled times.  They served to remind me that all thing will pass given sufficient time and patience.  I wrote a short poem to accompany the images expressing that idea and believe the combination of the poem and the images was stronger than either part.  In some ways, since I simply do not write in this way, I took more pride in the poem than I did in the photographs since I spend so much time and energy with my photographs

 

DEBRIS

The treachery of March
reveals winter’s ravage.

In its debris,
death and dissolution,
the turning of the wheel.

Hurrying by, carelessly, I see nothing.
Crouching deeply, on my knees, I discover the dark beauty of past stars.
Observing fearlessly, I realize the full truth of the turning wheel.

 

 

 

Post Winter Leaves-4 Post Winter Leaves-5 Post Winter Leaves-2 Post Winter Leaves-3 Post Winter Leaves

Post Winter Leaves-6

David Kingham

Whitepocket

Over the last two years, it has been my great pleasure to participate in several of David’s photography trips.  I’ve been to the Tetons for night photography, the San Juan’s for fall colors, Whitepocket/Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch with car camping and, most recently, a back packing trip to Blue Lakes, Colorado.  If I had the time and opportunity, I would, easily, work with David once a month.  Should anyone have any interest in photography in the West, I can recommend him with no reservations whatsoever.

What I most admire and appreciate about David is his thorough and thoughtful preparation.  When we met in the Tetons, he’d already spent weeks in the area on his own exploring and hiking and scouting locations for night photography.  Similarly, he’d already backpacked into Blue Lakes before we went with him.  He knew what to expect and where and when to look for the best opportunities in that location at that time of the year.  The same was true of the trips to the San Juans and the Whitepocket area.

I’ve observed David work comfortably with other members of these tours providing both technical ideas regarding capturing an image as well as aesthetic suggestions to others for their images.  During the daytime in the Tetons and the San Juans, that is, those locations wher we had electricity and roofs over our heads, he presented his approach to post processing in Lightroom and Photoshop that offered me ideas I’d never considered before.  It is easy for me to imagine going to a post processing workshop for nature photography with David for several days.  I would jump at the chance to learn just that part of the photography experience.

I hope to be able to join him on his trip to Zion National Park in the fall and would be thrilled to go to Death Valley with him, though my schedule probably won’t allow it for over a year.  He’s spent a lot of time in Death Valley and found locations that are not likely to be on more usual tours there.  I’ve truly admired his work from Death Valley.

Lastly, David is a good cook.  He prepared three dinners from scratch each evening on the Whitepocket/Paria Canyon/Buckskin Gulch trip.  His pork chops with sweet potatoes and apple chutney was a memorable meal.  One I’d be happy to have again, camping or at home.

If you are thinking about a photography trip in the West, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone could offer more than David.

 

Ox Bow Bend

 

Redux

I’ve continued my reworking of photographs from previous years with an emphasis on my trip to Venice in the early fall of 2011.  At that time, I know I was rendering these images as well as I could.  The same is true today.  I’m trying to obtain the best results possible.  To me, the difference is often striking.  This result comes from my own experience and, I’d like to think, an improvement in how I see but also software that is easier to use.  In 2011, had I really learned Photoshop, perhaps I could have come closer to what I can achieve now.  But, Photoshop is big and unwieldy and difficult to learn much less master.  Using Perfect Photo Suite, I’m happier with these photographs because they simply look better to me.  And, the amount of work to achieve them and the learning curve involved is so very much easier and faster.

Original

Sunrise-1

Redux

Sunrise-2

Perfect Photo Suite 9 from OnOne Software

Most of my work the last two months has been in front of the computer in one way or another.  More often than not, it’s working on photographs I made last year.  I’m still working on some I made during my trips to New York and Colorado in the fall.  But, I’ve also been watching videos and tutorials while riding on my bike trainer.  Most of last year, I thought I was in poor shape for riding, mostly because of the daily photography project became more and more important.  I’m getting an early start on training riding indoors while learning about the Perfect Photo Suite 9 from OnOne Software.  Most of my actual work on photographs has been using this suite.  Earlier I wrote I planned to revisit old photographs and see how I would render them now.  I doubt I will revisit 365 over the course of the year but I’ve enjoyed both the process and the outcome of the effort so far.  Today, I revisited the photograph on the opening page.  I have the original and the redux below.  I’m also including a redux from my trip to Venice in the fall of 2011

The more I work with PPS 9, the more I am impressed.  My workflow begins in Lightroom 5 then shifts to PPS 9 and then, some of the time, finishes back in LR 5.

Original

Bay Bridge-1

Redux

Bay Bridge-2space

Original

Venice-1

Redux

Venice-2

 

 

What Next?

Last year’s project proved to be far more demanding and difficult than I had imagined given my experience in 2012.  But, it proved to be far more rewarding.  In 2012, I thought just shooting and rendering a “thoughtful” photograph everyday was sufficient.  So in 2014 it seemed, “Been there.  Done that.”  I needed something more.  I wasn’t aware of that demand initially but it certainly evolved over the course of the year.  All I did after a few weeks was to make the decision to do only black and white for the first one hundred days.  Somehow I started using square format and then began looking more and more for abstract images.  In the end, I’m satisfied with the results.  Of course, there are photographs I’d be just as happy as not to delete.  But there are a number that please me.  And, Philips Gallery exhibited six of my abstracts!

I’m definitely not going to continue create a daily photograph this year.  But, I know myself well enough to understand I have to set some goals.  If I don’t, I’ll just wander or bounce between various whims and ideas that pop into my head.  A few goals force me to focus my energy.

My idea, right now, is to revisit past photographs.  I’ll look at what I’ve done before and see what I would do if I’d shot it today.  Lurking in the back of my mind is the idea I could do 365 redos over the course of the year.  And, I may do that.  This won’t place the same pressure shooting something every day imposed upon me last year.  And it’s consistent with my goal of learning more about Perfect Photo Suite 9, the new software I’ve just started to use the last month or so.  I’ve been very impressed with it so far.

So, here is my first redux.  The original dates to September 22, 2011.  The new version is processed with Perfect Photo Suite.

Original

Dog and people-2space

New

Dog and people-1

 

 

A Fuji Year

I December last year, I decided to try the new Fuji X-E2.  I’m a sucker for new cameras and lenses and … !!!  But, this camera began a tectonic shift.  I’d always used Nikon DSLR equipment.  But, the X-E2 was smaller and usually provided images that were just as satisfactory as those I got with the Nikons.  When the X-T1 came out, I had to try it.  And, it was even better than the X-E2.  So much better!  The X-T1 is now my main camera and the X-E2, my back up.

I started using the Nikon less and less.  Eventually I decided to sell much of what I had.  This decision came when I photographed a blue jay behind my hospital using the Fuji 55-200mm lens.  I had the Nikon 300mmg f2.8 and knew what it could do.  The photograph with the Fuji was “good enough.”  That began my “great sell off.”  I sold the 300mm and since then have sold about 10 other parts of my Nikon collection. 

I’m still holding on to one Nikon body and some lenses.  I don’t have to severe the connection entirely.  I still enjoy the Nikon 70-180mm Micro zoom and the new 20mm f1.8.  I still have some items to sell but only a few.

With the proceeds from my various sales, I’ve added several more pieces of Fuji equipment including the 100T.  The newest item is the brand new Fuji extension tube I used on the X-T1 to shoot the 100T below.  The 100T is just fun to use.  I could even imagine using it every day to take a photograph.  But, I’m not going to go there.  Not yet!

 

 

 

End of the Year-1

Phillips Gallery

Square 1

 

Phillips Gallery

Last month I received an invitation from Phillips Gallery to exhibit some of my photographs.  I was quite surprised because the photographs they were interested in exhibiting are not, in any way, the ones most people tell me they like.  Needless to say, I was thrilled to be able to let them select six from a set of twelve I took to them.  They were framed and presented publically on November 20, 2014.  Prior to the formal opening, I received a call from the gallery with news that was more unexpected than their original call.  Someone had seen the set and purchased one!  I remain as amazed as I am pleased at this entire experience.

 

Rokinon b-1

 

Rokinon b-4

 

Rokinon b-5

 

Rokinon b-6

New York City with Leanne Staples

New York 3-1 After I decided to spend a week in New York City, mainly for photography and particularly for street photography, I realized I needed a guide.  While I am familiar with the usual parts of the city, I wanted to visit places I couldn’t know about without having the time, months and years really, to explore the city.  I started to search the web starting with New York photography workshops and then New York photography guides.  In the process, I discovered I could photograph the city from a helicopter with open windows.  That would be a fabulous experience but it was excessively expensive.  I must say, though, the video distracted me for more than several minutes.  Then, I found Leanne’s website.

While I was looking for someone to steer me around out of the way places, what caught my immediate attention was her photographs.  Almost every one of her photographs was one I would have been happy to call my own.  Eventually, I started looking at the services she offered, her photo trips and her on line classes.  I decided to do both and each was a great experience.

I hoped to primarily work with Leanne on street photography in the weekly 30 minute on line classes.  While we did work on that, Salt Lake City doesn’t lend itself well to street photography.  It’s here, but it isn’t easy to find.  As a typical mall centered city, people aren’t on the streets all that much.  But, I did find opportunities and found Leanne’s feedback and comments to be very valuable.  Interestingly, her positive responses to another area of work I do proved to be even more valuable.  This year I’ve been working on photographing shadow pattern I come across.  I’ve rendered them using very high contract and solarization.  Leanne reacted very positively and encouraged me to pursue that direction further.  Given that my family and friends can be a little puzzled by these images, Leanne’s support was very gratifying.  And the outcome of that support was my decision to approach one of Salt Lake’s most established art galleries with a set of six of these photographs.  They were accepted for their winter show beginning next week.  Three to six of these 12″ by 12″ prints will be hung for the season.  I can’t expect that any of them will be purchased.  I’m simply enjoying the acknowledgement that there are people in the art community who appreciate my work.  I really don’t think this would have happened without Leanne’s encouragement.

After the classes, I went to New York and met Leanne 3 times for 4 hour photowalks.  We did one on the Lower Eastside and into Chinatown, one in the Williamsburg section to Brooklyn and then the last one in Spanish Harlem after school on Halloween.  I am absolutely certain most of the shots to took over the course of those 12 hours would never have been made if I’d been on my own.  I might have wandered across some of them, of course.  But, it’s a very big city and personal exploration would have been far more random.  And, I do know how unlikely it is that I would have gone to Harlem without someone to show me the ropes.  Leanne did that and the entire experience was great fun.  And, I might add, Leanne is a great companion who brings her own enthusiasm for urban/street photography to each experience as she finds her own photographs.

One of the ideas Leanne suggested was to find an idea or theme or location or background as a way to add a layer of coherency and organization to the chaos of the street.  This was a new idea for me and added an additional challenge to the experience but it served to sharpen my focus through the course of the entire week I was in the city, not just when I was with Leanne.  The result was the idea of photographing people in repose while coupling it to the action and energy of the city.  I’ve made some images I like and they would not have even been considered if not for Leanne’s guidance.  I’ll be looking for opportunities to pursue this idea in the future.  And, for me, the future holds at least one more possible walk with Leanne.  Her photographs of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade captured my immediate attention when I first visited her website.  I hope to be there with her in 2015.  I know I would have never known this parade even existed if not for her.  Thank you, Leanne.  I’ll see you there next summer.

Below are a few of my photographs from this trip that reflect Leanne’s influence on my work.  The unifying theme is repose and motion.

 

New York 1-1

 

 

 

New York 2-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Hundred Days

On December 22nd, 1979, I did not run at all.  The next time a day passed that I did not run was December 31, 1999.  In between, I ran every day.  In 2012 I decided to attempt to transfer that energy to photography.  With considerable doubts, I began trying to create one “thoughtful” image each day for the entire year.  I was able to do this, but I rapidly realized it was much more difficult than the simple effort of going out and running each day.  Still, I found the imposed discipline made me far more aware of photographic opportunities close at hand.  My “eye” became sharper.  It wasn’t necessary to travel to create some interesting photographs.  There were duds, as expected, but opportunities arose every day.

This year, I decided to try the project once again.  I’m been surprised how it has evolved.  Without any intent, I found myself consistently creating monochromatic images.  As the year has progressed, I also discovered an interest in square format.  I began looking for subjects that would fit within a square.  At the same time, I began to look more often for higher and higher contrast subjects.  Looking through this series something of this evolution may be observed.  April 10th will be the 100th day on 2014.  I will end the sequence of black and white photographs on that day.  On April 11th, I’ll take something in color ending the series at 100 monochromatic images.  From there, I’ll see where I go and whether I’ll be able to achieve my goal.  If anything, I believe the effort so far has resulted in even greater awareness of the world around my home and my work where the majority of my photographs are shot and more new ideas for my work.

I’m uploading my photographs here.  They can be viewed under the Once Daily heading.

Here are a few images that weren’t included.

 

 

 

One Hundred Days a

 

 

 One Hundred Days b

 

 

 

One Hundred Days d