Some images touch us more than others. Some are technically better; some evoke a pleasant memory or emotion from the past. Some simply are beautiful to see. Whatever the reason, we enjoy looking at some photos more than we enjoy looking at others. This portfolio includes some of my favorites for all the various reasons, and you can view...
Welcome to photosonthego, a photography blog set in the Bloomington, Indiana, area. It’s a place to find images captured by James Haverstock, images of events, people and scenery from all over the area, the state, and the country. Check back to find new images and new information about photography of all kinds on a regular...
RRS’ L plate is still four to six weeks out.
Yesterday I spoke with Emily at really Right Stuff. I trust their products so much that I wanted to preorder an L plate for the Fuji X-T1. I figured being an early bird might ensure getting one of the first ones. I still think that way, but Emily advised they didn’t have one of the cameras in house yet. WPPI just ended out in Las Vegas, and apparently they were in line to pick one up there. Then it is a four to six week process for the first orders to be produced. So we are a ways out from the first deliveries.
Sue and I have a small RRS plate left over from her Canon G11 (that is no longer with us), and it has been pressed into use for the time being. It is not ideal (we have to remove the plate to change batteries), but it is rock solid (as are all the RRS products). Emily advised we all can follow them on Facebook for news on X-T1 items, or we could subscribe to their newsletter. Info on the L plates will be posted there (as in when preorders will be accepted). To sign up for the newsletter (worthwhile in its own right), click here and go to the bottom of their Blog page. Sign up today and be among the first to receive news on X-T1 items.
The weather has recently made a turn for the better here. The next few days are forecast to be near or above 50 degrees. We are planning a photo outing to shoot the heck out of the X-T1, a new place with some old buildings. This is a scouting trip to see if the site is worth a full-fledged group outing in the future. Hopefully, it will turn into a worthwhile shoot while we are there. In any case it should give us some more impressions to share with you soon. We also are taking along a Nikon D800; it should be interesting to compare the files from these two. The D800 is arguably the big-kid-on-the-block in the DLSR world. The Fuji will have its work cut out for it.
It’s Friday, and the weekend beckons (a much warmer one than recently). Get out and enjoy it … camera in hand.Read More
Don’t let the X-T1′s looks convince you that it is difficult to use.
We have had the X-T1 for five days now, long enough to get a good feel for how it handles and what the files look like. My wife has been wearing it out, taking photos and comparing them with the look of our Nikon images. So tonight I asked her if we were going to need two X-T1′s? “Only if you want to shoot with one,” she replied. I guess that rather neatly sums up what she thinks of this new addition to the family.
Sue is not an experienced photographer. By that I mean she did not grow up with a camera in her hand or a dedicated photographer in the family. She took occasional snapshots with a variety of point-and-shoot film camera over the years, but she didn’t become interested in shooting until I became serious about seven years ago. And even then she just began shooting a bit because we were going to some beautiful locations, and she tired of standing around while I was taking photos. We bought her a Canon G9, and then a G11. She got better and began sitting in when we attended His Light workshops with Bill Fortney and Jim Begley. Her first DLSR was an entry-level Nikon D5100, and she really began learning the basics of exposure and aperture at that time (only a couple of years ago). So, she doesn’t have a lot of experience in shooting, especially with various types of cameras. And I wondered – was she going to have trouble with the format of the X-T1? In a word … no.
Neither one of us owned film-era SLRs. So when the X-T1 came we weren’t taken with its looks because it reminded us of what we used in the past. Far from it, we are digital camera babies. The camera just looks good on its own, its engineering and design are stand-outs. It catches your eye … and holds it. This camera isn’t selling so well and becoming so popular because of an on-going retro craze or fad. If you like well-designed products of any kind, you will be drawn to the X-T1. It is a looker.
If you are at all intimidated by looking at the dials and buttons on the top of the camera, thinking you aren’t going to know how to use this kind of setup, relax. Sue didn’t grow up shooting camera styled like this. I sure didn’t. And it has been quite easy to get used to and to shoot with. If you read my post from Tuesday you saw our learning curve – me reading the manual and Sue diving in head-first. That first morning she was asking me question after question about how this worked and what that did (she never has read the manual except for a few specific pages). By the afternoon she was shooting shot after shot in all kinds of conditions and comparing them to the results she had been seeing with the D5100. Truthfully, she did it without a lot of help from me – she learned by just grabbing the camera and shooting. It is that easy to get used to the retro-style X-T1. Don’t be scared off if you are not an experienced shooter. If you are interested in the Fuji read the reviews on its performance and if it suits your style of shooting. Don’t make a decision based on a fear of dials or buttons.
The Nikon D5100 is smaller and lighter than the D800 my wife has been used to recently. The Fuji is lighter yet, and a lot smaller (especially when you add in the lens factor). She loves those facts. Her experience has been with larger cameras – you might think the smaller Fuji would require a getting-used-to-it period. Not at all. It felt right to both of us from the very beginning. If you worry that a smaller camera can’t feel right or be easy to handle, relax. My only advice would be to consider the optional battery grip if you have larger hands. To us, the smaller size is a plus – easier to pack and easier to carry.
The X-T1 looks different from your bigger DLSR. And subconsciously you might be thinking it has got to be slower or clunkier or whatever you have in mind when you think back to film cameras. It is a modern, up-to-date, pretty much state-of-the-art digital camera. If you are not very experienced and think you need to be shooting whatever bigger camera your friends shoot because that is what modern DLSRs look like … relax. My dear friend and mentor Bill Fortney is a legendary photographer, a legendary Nikon shooter. And he is shooting (and making gorgeous images) with his Fuji X-series cameras and lenses now. Why? Because he says they give him the best results he ever has gotten. Think of that statement – a legendary photographer, a Nikon Professional Services rep for many years – shooting now with Fuji gear because of the quality he demands. My point is: if you are in the market for a new camera or if you just are interested in the Fuji X-T1, don’t be put off by its size or looks or buttons or dials. Experienced photographer or brand new shooter, this camera is worth a second look.
My wife has fallen in love with the X-T1. She could be a model for any newer photographer who wonders if the X-T1 might be a good fit. Trust me, we have learned that experience has nothing to do with making a decision. What you need to do is get one in your hands to see how it feels. You need to see one and appreciate the layout and design of the controls. You need to read up on the camera’s strengths and weaknesses (no, its not perfect), and see if it matches up well with your style of shooting. If it does, this truly may be what you have been looking for. If it doesn’t, look elsewhere. I am really beginning to appreciate how easy this system is to carry around. I like the fact that many of the lenses (tack-sharp lenses) are many, many dollars cheaper than their Nikon and Canon counter-parts. And the quality of the files is top-notch.
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest fads of any kind. Cameras and photo gear are not exceptions to that rule. So you have to step back and make sound decisions on your purchases, making sure what you buy is right for you and your style of shooting. At this point I’m going to give you what is just my opinion – mirrorless systems are not fads. More and more, Nikon and Canon are going to see clients quietly drift away from them and into the Fuji/Olympus/Sony arena. If you are a new or inexperienced shooter, don’t let the fact that you are scare you away from considering these lighter systems right now. The Fuji X-T1 is a perfect example of what I believe is going to be a lot of the future when it comes to camera sales. Take it from my wife. If you can ………Read More
The image above represents the day my lovely wife and I spent learning more about the Fuji X-T1 … and more about our styles of learning (even after 38 years). When the camera arrived late Saturday I spent time carefully looking it over, becoming familiar with all the parts and Fuji’s nomenclature. On Sunday I continued reading the manual and testing out what I was reading on the camera. We passed the camera back and forth between us, admiring how it looked and how it felt in the hand. It is most stylish, with good looks to boot. We both admired it – Sue more from an overall feel perspective and me more from what I was finding out as I played with the features. Then yesterday morning I did a bit more reading up on a couple of features I was learning more about and trying them out on the camera, while Sue took the camera and made a bunch of shots for herself. The photo she took of me with the Fuji was toward the end of the morning.
What I would do is take some shots and tell her how I liked or appreciated the feature I was using. Then she would take some shots and tell me the camera wasn’t working or that she thought it wasn’t a very good camera at all. I would ask her what she was trying to do, and then I would tell her why that particular effort would be impossible for any camera (e.g., hand-holding for a shutter speed of two seconds and expecting a tack sharp image). Then she would correct that and tell me how much she liked the sharpness and color of the resulting shot. Or she would say that focus peaking doesn’t work and that the camera wouldn’t do what it advertised. Then I would say it had to be in manual focus mode, and she would tell me what a cool feature that is and how much she liked it. Then she would say it wouldn’t bracket three film simulations at once … then I would tell her the mode dial had to be in bracketing. Then she would tell me how amazing it was to be able to do that. And so on …….
Eventually she told me yet something else that wouldn’t work and took the photo featured above.
Sue has gotten wonderful advice and encouragement from two dear friends when she was learning to shoot her D800. Both Richard Small and Raymond Jabola encouraged her to stay with it, learning the features of that camera as she needed them. Both are terrific photographers; they make shooting seem easy. So she just picks up a camera and starts making images, learning what she needs as she goes along and not worrying about all the rest. She shoots the same way … seeing a scene and capturing what she wants as a whole. I study the manual; I pick and fiddle while learning all the dials and buttons. I like to study a scene, figuring out the composition I want according to all the rules I have safely stored away in my mind. I now need Richard and Raymond to call Sue and encourage her to keep shooting with the X-T1.
Actually, the point of our experience is to encourage anyone considering an X-T1. This is a camera that has all the important stuff at your fingertips. It is a camera that is pretty easy to learn and pretty easy to shoot (with the same caveat each of us should remember when shooting at anytime with any camera – good technique will beat more and more expensive equipment every day of the week). Frequent practice and use are important for any piece of gear – know your equipment well enough so that you are not continually thinking about buttons and dials, but rather your mind’s vision. An example: Sue has a Nikon D5100 as back up to her D800. The D5100 doesn’t get used very much, since the D800 is such a beauty. So when she got the Nikon out today to shoot some comparison shots between it and the Fuji she had to learn again some of the D5100′s features. By the end of the day she was handling the Fuji quite efficiently.
The X-T1 has some great features that are going to be extremely useful once I get them muscle-memory down pat. When doing macros and close-ups the focus peaking is an aid that I wish Nikon would have given us long ago. I actually can see with a lot of certainty exactly what I have in focus and what I don’t – throughout the entire frame. Bracketing film simulations gives me different looks without going into post processing to see what I might like the most for any given scene. The Fuji color renditions are truly pleasing to the eye (at least to my eye). This little camera could really grow on a person.
Now, is it going to replace the D800? Nope. That camera sits at the top of the DLSR heap for many of us. Is it going to replace my backup camera (a Nikon D3)? The magic 8 ball says, “Most probably.” The D3 is a great camera, even though it was introduced back in 2007. It makes great images. But I can tell this little Fuji does also – and gives me more resolution (16 megapixels compared to 12) in a smaller, lighter package. Continuous shooting? Just about equal. Color rendition? Fuji makes a very strong case for itself. Good lenses? Fuji’s lineup gives Nikon a real run for its money. I’m still shooting and evaluating and learning … but, as good and reliable as the D3 is, the X-T1 is one heckuva camera.
Stay tuned. We are not done learning and testing. The weather has to get better and more conducive to shooting at some point in the near future. And that will be the final arbiter, where the rubber meets the road as my good friend Bill Fortney tells me. How well can the Fuji X-T1 compare with the D3 (and how close can it come to even the D800)? I am anxious to see more and to shoot more. But I can tell you this much for sure … it is a lot of fun in finding out.Read More
I’m not a particular fan of the way Nikon does business these days, but I am a great fan of their D800 DLSR. It makes beautiful (extremely large) files with all kinds of room for cropping when I don’t get it right in the camera (yes, that is all-too-frequently, I admit). I am prone to shooting on a tripod, a heavy one. I shoot rather slowly, I suppose, being careful to think through what I hope to accomplish. The D800 suits me … most of the time.
But there are lots and lots of times when I don’t get the shot I want, the one I see in my mind. And most of the time it is because that bulky D800 with its relatively heavy lenses is home on the shelf. I head out to do whatever and think I should grab the camera to take advantage of whatever the day offers – only to decide its just too much trouble to carry that (quite) heavy camera bag or decide on one particular lens to stick on the D800. So I run off without a camera and regret it later. And I bet I am far from alone in that bad (and lazy) habit. What is a poor photographer to do?
Enter Fuji’s latest small camera triumph, the X-T1. It is mirrorless, small and light. Easy to grab and go, even if you grab a couple of lenses in a small bag. Its 16 megapixels and renowned Fuji color give the files a most pleasing look, one that Fuji has been known for. It fits in the hand, sort of nestles there to wax more poetic. It just feels right for what I call normal-sized hands (I am a nine in glove size, if that helps). The X-T1 looks cool; it draws you in style-wise. When I removed it from the box it was a bit like the Really Right Stuff experience – you feel the quality and the engineering that went into its making. Sue and I have been passing it back and forth while we become accustomed to the dials and controls … the camera is a joy to handle. I like carrying it around (something I don’t think I can honestly say about any of the DLSRs I have owned). Fuji is getting very good reviews for its X-series cameras for some time now. The X-T1 is no exception.
I have owned a couple of MGB’s in the past. They weren’t Porsches, but they were speedy and responsive and well-built and really fun to drive. They didn’t just get me where I wanted to go; they got me where I wanted to go in a manner I enjoyed immensely. Fuji’s X-T1 has that feel to me. It also has a bit of that Really Right Stuff feel to it – solid, but not heavy. Buttons and dials that are placed where they should be (with a couple of niggles), machined to be strong and long-lasting. Just about everything a shooter looks for is well-at-hand with this camera, with unnecessary extras left out. Small and light don’t mean insubstantial. If I put this camera in your hand you would like it.
Now, as my dear friend Bill Fortney tells me, the proof is in the files. Winter isn’t ending anytime soon this year, unfortunately, and yesterday Bloomington experienced another ice-and-snow storm. It has not been a weekend conducive to getting out and doing a lot of shooting. We have been restricted to shots around the house, running through the dials and controls for effect instead of art. It has given us a good feel for the color and resolution, but I don’t have a work of art to post for you today. What I can say without hesitation, however, is that I have seen the files Bill produces with his Fuji X-E2. The sensor is the same as the X-T1, so there is no reason to suspect that these files won’t match the beautiful photos I have seen Bill take. In fact, he spent last week in St. Croix shooting with his X-T1. What he posted is what this camera is capable of … and that is a lot. As in, Bill Fortney quality images (top-of-the-line professional images). So you may rely on Bill’s results for the quality built into this camera. I will have some images of my own as the weather gets a bit better this week.
Sue and I are most impressed and pleased with this new addition to the family. Stay tuned as we explore it further and examine more closely our own photo results. It promises to be a fun trip. And what I can say for sure right now is that owning a high quality D800 has not spoiled me for the Fuji X-T1. And that says a lot, given that the big boy camera is an outstanding one in every respect. Move over, Nikon … and tell ‘em Fuji is back in town.Read More
Yesterday Nikon announced they were going to service any D600 cameras that owners sent them, replacing the current shutters with new ones that are free from the sensor dust problems so publicly revealed and talked about last year and this. Finally. It took long enough. But it is appreciated. And it is the right thing for Nikon to do. But they are not going to get much credit for doing so.
Have you ever had to nag and nag someone to finish a chore that they just should have done on their own? Ever had to raise a fuss to get someone to do what they should have done in the first place? We all have been in that position, unfortunately. And how did you feel when you finally received what was due you all along? Grateful? Joyful? Overflowing with praises for that person? We all know how we really felt … a bit resentful that it took so long to get the task accomplished. And that the joy or pleasure was taken from us amidst the struggle to get it done at all. What should have been a triumph of service or thoughtfulness for the provider was lost completely in the ugly process and feelings that the whole incident engendered. Nikon is in that position now.
Nikon should have long ago publicly admitted the D600 had a problem, announced a fix, and then followed through with timely (free) service for each owner. We all know that mistakes happen. We are for the most part very forgiving people. Nikon actually would have gotten credit for being a company that provides great service and cares about its customers. Now all they get is grudging thanks from disgruntled clients for fixing what Nikon denied for way too long. I mention all this because it is not the way to run a world-wide camera company (or any company). As cameras and associated gear become more and more advanced, with each manufacturer turning out a product capable of taking great photos, customer service (hence, trust) becomes more and more important. Nikon just isn’t doing a good job of that recently; there are camera companies that are.
Click here to read Nikon’s statements on D600 repairs over on DP Review. And see if what should have been a nice gesture on Nikon’s part hasn’t turned into a customer failure.Read More
There are about a gazillion or so iPhones out there now. And today I have an offer for all of you who own one – a free remote shutter release. This tip comes courtesy of my lovely wife, who showed it to me a couple of weeks ago. Thank you, Sue.
Your iPhone came with a pair of earbuds. When you are ready to take a photo plug the buds into your phone and steady yourself as much as possible (to obtain the sharpest image you can). Then squeeze the volume control on the earbuds … either one, plus or minus, will do. That’s it! The volume control doubles as a remote shutter release. And your photo is sharper than perhaps you thought possible. How cool is that?
Thank you, Apple geniuses. Thank you, Sue.
And I’m sure almost all of us are looking forward to the exit of winter. It’s been pretty rough this season, and spring can’t come soon enough for many of us Midwesterners. Good news, then – the eagle cam I suggest each season is up and running. And we may have our first egg of the season … at least Mom sure is acting as though that is the case. There are two cameras to choose from this year: one looking sown into the nest and one sitting higher up to give a more over-all view. While I’m not one who sits glued to the Eagle Cam all day, I do enjoy periodically checking in to see life begin anew with the arrival of the eagle chicks. It is a reminder of God’s perfect plan and how it all comes together … always and eternally. Click here if you would like to see this annual show.
Back in the deep freeze for the next few days for us. C’mon warm weather!Read More
Third party accessories may mean more dollars in your pocket.
I just became the owner of a Shoot RS-80N3 remote (corded) shutter release. It costs all of $17 (with free shipping) over on Amazon (click here for a link if you become interested). That’s inexpensive to say the least (cheap if we are among friends here). And for me it was even less expensive – it was a gift from my dear friend Bill Fortney. Thank you, Bill!
Now, I mention this shutter release for several reasons. First, to say again what a dear and special friend Bill Fortney is to so many of us. He is truly one-of-a-kind. Second, to point out that Bill uses this shutter release and recommends it. Bill knows photography, and he knows the gear that makes it all possible. When he recommends a product it is because it works out in the field, not just on paper or a spec sheet. Bill uses the Shoot RS-80N3 on his Fuji camera. ‘Nuff said. Third, the price. This little device costs about $17. The comparable Canon release (these two work on both Canon and Fuji) costs $46. That, my friends, is quite a difference. Is the Canon that much better than the Shoot model? Bill Fortney doesn’t think so, and he has been using this model for quite a while now.
Don’t get caught up in name brands anymore for all your needs. Third party lenses are making great strides in quality, for example. Do your homework; get some advice when you can from a trusted source. But save a few dollars where you can, especially on accessories. If it is good enough for the Bill Fortneys of the world, it is good enough for me.
I also have a recommendation today for a lens cleaning solution, again courtesy of Bill. He uses a product called Ray Vu, available from the legendary Ray Singh (makers of the best filters on the market today). When these two men team up, Ray to develop a product and Bill to use and recommend it) the rest of us should just get out our credit cards. Ray Vu is the solution used at Singh-Ray in their labs, where they develop and manufacture those gorgeous filters. Once again, ’nuff said. Click here for a link to Singh-Ray and Ray Vu. You won’t do better than this.
Hand-in-hand with the Ray Vu cleaning solution goes a microfiber cleaning cloth. One comes with the Ray Vu order, but it is pretty small (eyeglass-sized, if you will). One I have used lately (also on a recommendation from Bill) is by 3M. It is yellow, extremely microfiber-y (if that is a word), and large (about 12″x14″). The cost at Wal-Mart is less than three dollars, so it is quite affordable. This is a small accessory, but when you need one they are a necessity. Click here to see what Wal-Mart has to offer. These are small items, ones we tend to take for granted. Until we need them. And there are many, many variations and models and manufacturers of these types of accessories. The ones showcased today bear the stamp of approval from Bill Fortney. And like the old (I am dating myself here) E.F. Hutton commercials – when Bill speaks, I listen. Check these items out today, and when you need to replace or add to what you have, consider giving them a try.Read More
We have been talking a bit lately about mirrorless systems and how they might fit into our photographic futures. It strikes me more and more that they are going to become a large part of what we shoot with and a larger part of camera company sales. Now, that doesn’t mean that this trend would necessarily be a good thing … or a bad thing. To me it just means that the camera companies should be paying close attention if they wish to stay healthy and relevant down the road. Fuji seems to understand that; Olympus seems to understand that; Sony seems to understand that. It surely remains to be seen if Canon and Nikon do.
Today I want to point you to an article written by Roger Cicala of LensRentals.com (a person who deals daily in cameras, lenses and photography in general. I ran across this one over on Imaging Resource, and it makes for some interesting reading (and thinking). Roger goes into his take on incremental changes in our photo world as opposed to disruptive ones, those that generate major changes to the way business is done. The article is well-reasoned and well-written; it also is a touch long for some readers. I urge you to take a look, however, skipping down if you like to the section labeled Other Disruptive Innovations. The first thing mentioned is mirrorless systems, the cameras we have touched on the past few days (led by Fuji, IMHO). Roger’s opinion, boiled down for this post, is that mirrorless is coming and coming hard (click here for a link to the article). I posit that it is here now in various forms such as the Fuji X-T1, and that Fuji already is changing the way many of our pro shooters do business. It may soon do the same for you.
Then, to give you a treat for the weekend, a retouching video from a master. Glyn Dewis is a fine photographer, a master retoucher and instructor. And his talent is matched by his unending generosity. Today he provides us with a FREE video that takes us from camera capture to finished product – a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Seems simple (and maybe even a touch boring), I know – I mean, flowers? Yes, flowers – flowers made beautiful by the wonders of post processing (in the hands of a master). Trust me on this, Glyn will entertain while increasing your skills and talents. And the weekend will give you some time in which to kick back with something we all enjoy – photography and beautiful photos.
Told you ….. Now, let’s enjoy the weekend. Camera in hand.Read More
You don’t want to miss this offer!
Creative Live has an incredible value coming our way February 24-28, a completely FREE week of Photoshop instruction from some very talented instructors. And what is especially great about this offer is that we have a schedule of discrete blocks of instruction; you can plan your viewing schedule around the topics you really want to see. Dave Cross (one of the original Photoshop Guys), the fabulous Julieanne Kost, Lindsay Adler and even the legendary Russell Brown will all be available at some time during the week. Topics include photo restoration, fashion retouching, presets, filters, video … you name it and they are going to cover it. This is a special event, a special chance to pick up some very valuable training. Click here to check out Creative Live and the topics each day, the times they will be presented and who will be doing the instructing. Then sign up … it’s all FREE!
Thank you, Creative Live!Read More
Consider the Wapiti if you need a new camera strap.
My friend Richard Siggins consistently reminds us of things photographic, the things we truly need to remember while actually shooting. And he did it again yesterday, and he did it so well that he had me seeing red. But not in the way you may be thinking – red as in how we see that color and how we can use it to our advantage in our images. Richard has a way with words, and he has a real talent for finding just the right photos of his to emphasize his teaching points. Yesterday’s post was a good example of that; he had me looking exactly where he intended me to look. Take a look at his post by clicking here … and I bet he has you doing the same thing I did. Seeing red, that is.
Yesterday we talked a bit about the threat Nikon and Canon face (IMHO) from the mirrorless systems of Fuji, Olympus and Sony. In particular, Fuji’s emphasis on customer service is winning over shooters who have been exposed to some real missteps in that department by the bigger-kids-on-the-block. We mentioned the D600 dust-on-the-sensor controversy, one at least in part solved by simply issuing a new model, the D610 (which left D600 owners feeling let down, to say the least). News related to those feelings has surfaced in the form of a US law firm preparing a class action lawsuit over exactly that dust problem. I guess we could say something along the lines of, “Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Now, contrast that with Fuji’s attitude of kaizen, offering improvements in all they do and produce. Click here to read all about that potential lawsuit (and even contact them if you are an aggrieved D600 owner).
And also in line with yesterday’s opinion post on mirrorless systems is a new (for me) video that takes the new Fuji X-T1 out into the cold for a hands-on shooting test. This one is from a couple of guys that Bill Fortney knows and respects. He told me I could trust what they were showing and discovering. And when Bill tells me I can trust something or someone, I do. The intent is not to become a Fuji fan site or to sell Fuji cameras. But, as I posted yesterday, there is something going on out there with mirrorless that Canon and Nikon are missing out on. This video just gives many of us more to consider. Take a look and see what you think.
And one last recommendation for today, especially if you are in the market for a new camera strap (or think you might be in the future). I have learned to trust Bill Fortney’s recommendations without reserve, and recently he turned me on to a line of hand-crafted camera straps. These are the ones he uses on his smaller cameras, and he loves them because of their comfort factor and the fact that they simply won’t slip off his shoulder. The straps are handsome, made of elk hide, and are made by hand by one person. The company is Wapiti Straps, working out of Montana. You can order one of four models, and for each you can specify a length that perfectly suits you. Click here to see what I mean about how good-looking they are. One may be just what you are looking for. (Bill orders and swears by the Spike Strap, FYI).
Enjoy today. Spring is on it’s way.Read More
Could a smaller camera be in your future?
Scrunch over, Canon and Nikon. Make room on the podium for Fuji, Olympus, and Sony because the mirrorless cameras are not only coming – they are here. I’ve been watching more than a few of our photo giants switching from their DLSRs to the smaller, lighter systems … and telling the rest of us that they are doing so without sacrificing any quality. Legendary photographers like Bill Fortney know how to make great images; when they make the switch we can be sure that mirrorless has arrived. Even a cursory look at the latest offerings from Fuji, Olympus and Sony is capable of dazzling with specs and camera bodies and lenses. And all generally at prices reduced from their big-boy Nikon and Canon high-end counterparts.
When you see the image quality these systems are capable of, what’s not to like? Smaller and lighter … easier to pack and to carry. Less expensive, especially on lens sets … who of us objects to saving money? And this is what I see on the horizon that is so exciting … a commitment to service and customer satisfaction. Let’s face it – Nikon has had some serious missteps recently (think D600 versus D610 sensor problems or D800 focus issues that were less-than-adequately dealt with). Or Canon with Rebel grip problems that actually had the potential to poison users! Or focus problems with the top-of-the-line pro bodies. Now, contrast that with some statements at CP+ recently from a high-ranking Fuji executive.
Last year Fujifilm released a major update to the X100, bringing it closer in line to the X100S and now you’re planning on bringing the X-E2 closer to the X-T1. Do you not risk losing sales of the newer models by doing this? (Question from dpreview interviewer. You can read the entire interview by clicking here).
“Yes but it in the long run customer trust is very important. We’re a relatively new brand and we need to build trust. There was some internal debate about the X100 update, and some people within Fujifilm didn’t think we should upgrade a discontinued model but we decided to do it anyway.” Customer trust – are you listening Canon and Nikon?
What are the major challenges facing Fujifilm in the future? (dpreview interviewer).
“Our biggest challenge is customer awareness, and customer education. We think that at least 50% of the market could be mirrorless in the future, but what’s missing is awareness on the part of the consumers about the benefits of mirrorless. In my opinion this is due to the lack of focus on mirrorless from the two big brands, Canon and Nikon. The Nikon 1 and EOS M didn’t satisfy customers so many consumers see mirrorless as something inferior to DSLRs. That’s the biggest challenge. We need to educate customers that mirrorless is not inferior, it can be better than DSLR.” Lack of awareness from the two big brands – something is taking place out there and Canon and Nikon are ignoring the trend.
Fuji sees sales in Japan as 40% mirrorless (other Asian countries at 25% and the United States and Europe coming in only at about 10%). Notice those Japanese figures – there is a trend toward smaller and lighter coming our way. I can’t see any way that Nikon and Canon can avoid what it coming as long as Fuji and the others concentrate on customer satisfaction (think continually updating the firmware even for old, discontinued models of camera) with the lower costs and beautiful image quality that mirrorless is offering already. I’m not a salesperson for any camera company or for any particular system, but I have decent eyes and ears. Think mirrorless. Check out the new kids on the block when you get the chance. And don’t be surprised when you like what you see.
And we have talked numerous times about the good folks over at Creative Live. They offer for FREE (how generous is that!) classes from some incredibly talented instructors on a wide range of topics. The catch for me? The free classes are live – you have to have the time right then to sit and watch. The archived classes are for sale, and I find them to sometimes be a bit steep for my budget. But, boy, is there a great class coming up March 3 and 4! Imagine getting together four of the absolute best portrait-ists shooting today: Sue Bryce, Lara Jade, Emily Soto and (my favorite) Lou Freeman. If you photograph women you recognize these names. If you have seen their work you know how talented they are. On March 3 and 4 Creative Live will present these talented ladies for a class on making portraits of women. Sign me up! And you can join, also. Just check this link to join the live class. I’ll meet you there.
More snow or ice today. What a great day to get some on-line photo instruction.Read More
My good friend Richard Small brightened my day recently with a link to Twisted Sifter, a site dedicated to sharing some amazing photos. These are their picks for the 50 greatest images representing being at the right place at the right time … with a camera in hand. Many of the photos we enjoy so much and marvel at are the result of some great amount of luck – you just happened to be there and push down on that shutter button when something happened. The other day I posted a video about National Geographic photographer Sam Abell. His philosophy was to set up and compose your background, then wait for something to happen that makes the image a worthy one. I doubt that many of these photos fall into that category. These are the ones we all hope just to fall into, being in the right place at the right time. And I must admit, in this day of Photoshop and fantastic software programs, I wondered a couple of times if the image wasn’t added to or completely put together on a computer screen. Take a look, and you be the judge. In any event, it is Friday … start the weekend with a look at some fascinating photos.
Here is the Twisted Sifter link to The 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.
And another shoutout to Fuji: this new app of theirs (a FREE one) is what every camera manufacturer should be offering. You download the app to your smart phone and then no matter where you are you can remotely set your Fuji camera’s (selected models) aperture, focus point, etc. The app may not be a Cam Ranger with all its expanded abilities, but it still looks to work well. If Fuji can do this, why not the Nikon and Canon big boys? Take a look at a short video showing you how easy it is to use this app and handy it could be. Thank you, Fuji, for painting a map to the future.
Happy Valentine’s Day from the snowy Midwest!Read More
You are reading this today (Thursday), and tomorrow is Friday. But tomorrow is more than just Friday. Or even TGIF Friday. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Now, if you have found the perfect something for that perfect someone, congratulations. But if you haven’t, here is a suggestion that is practical and useful but also cool. It’s the iBondi, a simple little silicon phone holder that so many of us would find useful. I first saw it when my wife picked up a couple, one to use in the car and one at home for around the kitchen. iBondi looks cool, and it turns out to be pretty handy. And for all of you who like me don’t mind finding a bargain, iBondi doesn’t cost all that much.
Check out this video to see our newest little friend in action (and to see the cool factor I was talking about.
Precious, isn’t he? Or if that sounds a bit over the top – pretty cool, eh? I don’t know if you have time to scoop one up for Valentines’ Day, but who says you can’t give a present any day you wish to that someone special with a cellphone? Or even give yourself a little gift now and then. I have seen and used iBondi over the past few days. As an inexpensive accessory for your phone (imagine the uses it could be put to out on a photo shoot), I give it two thumbs up. Here is a link for the little guy over on Amazon, and here is another for the iBondi website. Thank you,, Bondi!
And wonderful news for all you Bill Fortney fans everywhere (and I know there are lots and lots of you). I spoke with Bill yesterday and he is recovering quite well from some oral surgery that took place on Tuesday. There is some pain and swelling, but he was able to talk on the phone for a short while and he sounded good. Many of us were praying for him, and He answered those prayers. Bill is an amazing man – friend, counselor, guide, mentor and inspiration to so very many of us. Now we have him in an even newer and more improved version! Recover completely, my friend. You always are in our prayers.Read More
Sam Abell was a national Geographic photographer for some thirty years, going everywhere and seeing everything. And bringing it home with him inside his camera-of-the-moment and inside his heart. Sam was the closing speaker at PhotoPro Expo this year, and he finalized the conference in style. Sam is good.
He said he wasn’t going to show a Greatest Hits slideshow, and he didn’t. But the images he put up on the screen certainly would have qualified for such a show. Sam is good. He has kind of a dry presentation, sounding a bit monotonous at times. Don’t be fooled by that; he is always making a point, always building toward the concept he wants you to learn. And we all would do well to pay attention to what he talks about, especially the idea of setting the background of a photo and then waiting for something to happen (sort of a ‘decisive moment’ technique). It certainly worked for Sam, and it seems to be the sort of advice that can work for all the rest of us.
The video I found for today is one that covers most of what Sam presented this past Sunday. This one is shorter, unfortunately, and it was made back in 2011. Material has been added for 2014, material that enriches what you are about to watch today. But Sam’s advice, his teaching points haven’t changed. They are the distilled advice of 30 years of shooting; they represent Sam’s core methods and philosophy. The camera may have changed. Film has been replaced by digital. Sam is a bit older now. But he is good, and it shows.
If the video from PhotoPro Expo ever hits the web I will be sure to post it and point it out. Until then, I urge you to watch this one. Unfortunately, this video is limited to a lower resolution, so watching full screen makes the images go all fuzzy. Be content to watch it in its smaller version. The content is well worth it.
And let me add to what I posted yesterday about PhotoPro Expo being an inspiring, worth-the-cost event. Sunday morning I got to sit in on a presentation by the legendary Bill Fortney, a presentation that left me wanting to get out there and shoot and shoot and shoot. And that was followed by an inspiring, beautiful presentation by Sam Abell. Trust me; it was a great morning for a photographer. Now, watch the video of Sam from 2011 and get excited about joining us in Kentucky in 2015.
PhotoPro Expo 2014 ended yesterday, and I arrived home in the afternoon. The nearly four days were jam-packed, beginning at 0730 and ending around midnight. Each day. But the instruction was first-rate, the company outstanding, and the experience another great one (made possible in part due to the fine companionship of the Bloomington Photo Club contingent that attended). I attended last year and thought it a real success (and bargain). This year’s show matched 2013, and I definitely am planning on attending in 2015. Now, before you think that is premature on my part, consider this: David and LaDawn Ziser and their team are already preparing for next year. They are warm and gracious hosts, making each of us feel welcome. And I have some information to prove that.
David has already announced the dates for next year’s show: January 22-26. It will be held in Covington, KY again (right across the river from Cincinnati). And if you decide to join us … and I really do urge you to attend if you are anywhere close to the Midwest … you can attend for the ridiculously low price of $99. Yes, only $99 for nearly four days of instruction, food, parties and the largest vendor show in the Midwest! You also can guarantee yourself in the VIP section (more central seating) for only $109 if you desire. Folks, these truly are bargain prices! There is only one catch: you have to sign up for 2015 by midnight tonight (EST). The offer is a most generous one; this is a chance to get inspired and share some photo face time in the dead of winter, readying yourself for the warmer seasons to come. Just follow the link I am going to give you (click here) and then use the discount code DEAL2015 for the $99 price when checking out, or the discount code VIP2015 for the central seating.
I will post more later this week on some of the highlights of the conference. Right now it is time to catch up on all that has happened on the home front while I was away and get ready for the week ahead. But let me leave with a shout-out and a big thank you to David and LaDawn Ziser and the PhotoPro Expo team. Great job!Read More