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...
Today I was able to process a few more photos from our trip to the Ohio State Reformatory. These were taken with the Nikon D800 (prior to its 10 pin connector failure). These images really are different in size (of course), color gamut, and overall look than the Fuji X-T1. I had to process then quite differently from each other to reach the mood I had in mind from the prison. Not saying that one is better than the other; they just are really different in temperament, if you will. The Fuji look is quite pleasing, I must say. The D800 files are richer, with more processing room and leeway. I am not sure at this point if one camera ever will be able to put the other into retirement. But let’s just say that the Fuji has been a very, very pleasant surprise.
Click on the photo at the top of the post to see a few more images, or just click here. And enjoy the day ….Read More
Today I added a few more images to the Ohio State Reformatory gallery. I’ve been trying to reproduce what I saw as a photographer there, the artist’s eye that we strive to develop. The prison is a great location in which to practice skills of all kinds. It is a wonderful place in which to shoot, to free yourself up creatively as well as technically. I hope you enjoy these new images even a little bit as much as I did in taking them.
Click on the photo at the top of the post to see the images, or you can just click here.
Oh, and the problem with my D800? My remote shutter release just stopped working in the middle of our shoot the second day. We tried it on a second camera, and it worked just fine. Then we tried another remote that worked on the other camera on mine. Nothing. My good friend Bill Fortney, a former Nikon tech rep, told ma later that he has seen this particular problem more and more in about the past five years. The connection for the 10 pin connector becomes loose inside the camera, apparently. It’s not a big deal, but you have to get way inside the camera to repair the connection. Nikon has the camera now and promised to put a rush on the fix. I am happy with their response, and I should have the D800 home soon.
The weather here is more April-like than May (think lots of rain this week and some cooler temps). Time to see if the Fuji is as weather-sealed as they claim.Read More
Click on the image of the reformatory to see a few more images.
If you are considering a trip to Mansfield, Ohio to shoot the Ohio State Reformatory, read on. If you are not yet considering such a trip, read on. Then start planning your trip; the place is not to be missed. I still am processing images from our shoot there last week, and there are enough keepers that I am going to be at this task for a while. It is that rich an environment for photographers. I am pretty satisfied with what I came home with, but if some of my friends make the trek over to Ohio and have room I definitely would go back. The place is that good.
So, allow me to give you a bit of advice if you are making plans. And if not Ohio, perhaps you have a large institution akin to the (now-closed) prison that will present you with similar circumstances. Perhaps what Sue and I discovered will apply to your location, also.
This place is big … really big. Plan on spending all the time they will give you each day (currently 11 AM until 5 PM) shooting. If you get there late or make plans to leave early I don’t see how you can shoot everything you will want to capture. Shoot and move; get good shots, but don’t dawdle at any given place. We scouted the prison the day before since we knew we had two days. That helped us have sort of a plan for what would be priority shots. You don’t have to do that, but it sure helped. And the prison is really an interesting place with an incredible history. Having a bit of time that first day to take in the whole atmosphere made the trip more enjoyable.
Don’t bother arriving prior to 11 AM. That is when the grounds open (it is gated), and it doesn’t open a minute earlier. Don’t bother with the interactive history-explaining device you can rent if you are there to take photos. You won’t have time to listen to all the information. Tours are self-guided other than on Sunday; the route is plainly marked and you will find your way around quite easily.
Most of the prison is fairly dark inside. Plan on using high ISOs and some wide-open apertures if you are hand-holding. I have some scouting shots from that first day that just aren’t sharp. I knew they wouldn’t be when I took them, given the long shutter speeds some of the spots demanded. You may be really good at hand-holding, but not much is more disappointing than arriving home only to discover that shot-of-a-lifetime isn’t tack sharp. The good news is that you can pay an extra fee and take along your tripod. And to me that is a must. The bad news is that the tripod fee is $150 a person ( a flat $1200 for groups up to 20 if you want to get together a large group). But ask yourself … how often am I going to get back to a place like this? And isn’t a large batch of great images worth that much when you already have invested your time and energy in getting there? Photographers are fond of asking, “Want to take to more interesting pictures?” with the answer, “Go to more interesting places.” This is such a place. It’s worth the tripod fee.
Bracket your exposures. If you shoot HDR sometimes you will have what you need for that kind of processing. If you just want to save time, bracket to make sure you have at least one correct exposure and keep moving. Lighting conditions can be tricky inside, and you don’t want to spend all your precious shooting time worrying about making sure you have the right exposure each time. I’m not advocating being sloppy in your habits, just economical with your time.
Bring two cameras instead of changing lenses constantly. The prison is old and it is dusty. And sometimes grimy. Just walking around stirs up a bit of fine dust (nothing to worry over, just know that changing lenses will expose you to that dust). Neither of us found any real need for a long telephoto. I shot comfortably most of the day with a (full-frame) 24-120 mm lens. Then my second camera had a wide angle on and ready for use (a 15-36 full frame equivalent). Every time I sat down or set my bag sown there was dust on it (and me). Take two cameras. I didn’t see a whole lot of macro shots, but if that is your specialty set up your second camera with a macro lens. But there are an awful lot of wide angle and medium zoom shots inside. Plan for those type lenses first.
Plan of getting some exercise. There are stairs everywhere, to get anywhere. There is a ground floor abbreviated tour area if you can’t do stairs. But the only elevator takes you up to a guard room that then leads to more stairs to shoot the cell blocks. It’s not like you are running to get from place to place; don’t think you have to be an athlete to shoot here. But you will cover a lot of ground, and you will know you have gotten your exercise for the day.
The place looks like a castle on the outside. It is very impressive, quite pretty. But there are cars in most areas and the shadows get pretty harsh when you are allowed to be there. Grab some outside setup shots right away or just before you leave, but the inside is where the shots take place. Don’t use up a lot of time trying to get arty shots of the exterior.
There is a little concession stand open some of the time during the summer. It was closed when we were there. So if you need something to eat or drink during those hours, bring it in with you. And you can go in and out of the prison for those necessities. No food or drink allowed inside the building. Bathrooms are outside the building, with one set on the ground floor inside (pretty far inside the building). Go before you start your tour.
Think creative while inside. Unless you are shooting a documentary, you only want so many shots of cell doors and locks and things like that. Trust me … the temptation is to shoot everything in sight. But look inside just like you would outside. Where is the light falling? Where are your defining shadows? Look for color, line, form and texture. There is a mood inside the prison that sort of follows you around – somber, if you will. Resigned. Lonely, if not abandoned. Give some thought to how you will process your later photos, what you want to convey to the viewer. This is an environment made for the creative shooter; don’t be content with snapshots.
Enjoy the experience. There is history all around you at this location. Become part of what goes on there; bring some of it home with you.
I have begun a new gallery to show some of the images I came home with. More will be added as time permits, but click here to see that gallery. And good luck shooting this wonderful place yourself sometime.Read More
The watchword for the past two days has been ‘stairs’. Lots of stairs; stairs everywhere; stairs almost to nowhere. We made a quick, yet jam-packed, trip over to Mansfield, Ohio Wednesday and Thursday. We arrived home late last night, pooped out after a five-hour drive home that got a late start. This morning has been recovery time of many sorts. But what a place the now-defunct Ohio State Reformatory is! We were kicked out at closing time or we might still be there, trying to cram in just one more shot. And then one more. And one more on top of that. It’s that kind of place.
The reformatory is the place where they filmed The Shawshank Redemption, one heckuva movie. It is old, but hauntingly beautiful. Decrepit, but living and breathing. It is horrifying in memories of conditions there when it still was a prison, yet it is strangely beautiful (especially to us photographers). There is almost too much to take in when shooting, yet alone trying to absorb some of the history and story of the place. We shot for two days (the first without tripods, which is pretty difficult in most venues, as a scouting trip), the second serious business with the tripods (for a fairly steep fee). And we shot from 11 AM until the prison closed at 5 PM, leaving a few more shots for another day. The place is that big and that conducive to photographers. Now, I can’t speak yet to what we came home with (it’s been that busy this morning), but if there are no great shots in the bunch it is the fault of the photographer, not the location.
I still have a bunch of things to get done, so I will leave you with a link to the reformatory (you can get all the great details there). I can’t show you any images yet, because I have yet to even get my cards downloaded. And one of the things I have to do is send my D800 off to Nikon for a repair (another post-to-come). But it was a great trip, and we are safely home.
If you live in the Midwest and are a photographer who delights in line, form, color and texture start planning a trip to Ohio now. The place is a feast for the eyes, even given the few drawbacks we encountered (which I will explain later). Photography is a joy; this place makes you glad to be a shooter.Read More
Monday my good friend Dan Harrell and I made a trip to the Eiteljorg Museum up in Indianapolis. It was a great day, in part because of outstanding friendship and fellowship. Also, however, was the Ansel Adams exhibit currently on display. There are to be found 80 of his works, covering some of the all-time standards (Moon Over Hernandez, New Mexico), the national parks photos for which he may be most famous, and some portraits (he was a very fine portraitist as it turns out). Adams’ use of light (and his ability to see light) are amazing; the works on display call out to you in just the places he intended. If you are anywhere close to Indianapolis make time to see this show. I absolutely guarantee you that the day will be one you remember.
And then there was a surprise, a most pleasant one. On the second floor was a collection of cowboy images, taken in various rodeo settings. They are outstanding. Blake Little is the photographer, and he was a bull rider for a while on this particular rodeo circuit. And that allowed him some backstage access that led to some very intimate images. And I say ‘this particular rodeo circuit’ because it was the International (U.S. and Canada) Gay Cowboys Rodeo Circuit. I had no idea there ever was such a thing, and I am willing to bet most of you didn’t either. It lasted from 1988 to 1992, consisting of seven regular rodeo events and three special ones. The special ones do stand out for creativity, I must add. They included steer decorating, goat dressing, and a Wild Drag Race (in which two cowboys, one in drag, were joined by one lesbian. The three had to rope a free-running steer and someone had to ride it to the finish line). There must have been some real sights during those rodeos! In any event, the images were outstanding.. The collection was portraits and action intertwined, making for a most personal show. I recommend this exhibit highly; you are not likely to see it many other places.
The Eiteljorg is a very special place of western and Native American art at any time. The two exhibits on display right now make it even more interesting than usual. And as a bonus … the restaurant inside the Eiteljorg is first-class. It makes for a most enjoyable visit whenever you can make it. And if you are not from Indy, make a trip to visit us and include the museum as a must-see while you are here.
Click here for some additional information about the museum and the current exhibits. And come see us some time.Read More
I have used versions 6, 7 and 8 now. This is a terrific offer.
You know how you see all those pushy ads on TV or hear them on the radio? The ones that say, “Call now! You must act within the next 20 minutes!”? Most of them are designed to stampede you into a not-so-good deal made to sound otherwise. It certainly is buyer beware. But onOne Software has such an offer going on, an offer you really should not pass up. Honestly!
Those good folks are offering you Perfect Effects 8, a really useful and valuable processing program, absolutely free. It retails for a cool hundred bucks … but if you act now you can have it for FREE! It works on MAC or PC; it works as a standalone or with Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture and Photoshop Elements. Folks, I have this program (I bought it a while back), and it is a keeper. It’s a valuable part of my workflow, and now you can have it for free. This is a real deal from an honest and upstanding software company. Act now! (I couldn’t resist adding that).
Now, I’m not sure how long the offer will last. There is no stampede going on here, but I wouldn’t wait around forever, either. I can’t tell you why onOne is making this offer, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Click here to visit the free download page from onOne, and start using this program right away. I don’t have to go out on much of a limb to say that I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
That’s a short post for today, but it is one of the best offers I have seen in a long time. Act now!Read More
Click on the Helmsburg General Store to see more photos.
Saturday was a warm and sunny day in our area, far too nice to stay inside. So we packed up the cameras and drove over to nearby Brown County, checking out the park and seeing what was in bloom. We also took a quick drive out to a couple of favorite barns on Maple Grove Road, seeing how they looked after our tough winter. I’m glad to report they survived just fine, and I added a couple of images to the barn collection. There are a couple of general stores in Brown County that do a pretty busy business, selling all kinds of items to those who live in the area and those like us who just are driving by. One is the general store in Helmsburg; the other is the Gatesville Country Store. I added photos of both to the Sanders General Store gallery, along with a couple of new shots from that store. And on the way back from Gatesville we stopped at an old, abandoned home near the Brown County State Park. It is becoming rather dilapidated, but it stands out for its unusual siding – a form of Indiana hick brick.
Now, for the uninitiated, hick brick is the term used around here for asphalt shingles used as siding. It usually was brown and in the form of fake bricks; this home has a green variation that is sort of scalloped. I never have seen it used anywhere else; it was worth shooting for that reason alone. It also has sort of a by-gone charm, a character all of its own. I added some shots from the house to the Sanders gallery, as well. It was a fun day … Brown County has a whole lot to offer visitors, and it rarely disappoints.
Click on the image at the top of the post for more photos, or you also can just click here. And, it’s Monday … enjoy the week.Read More
Click on the old gas pumps to see more images.
Yesterday we scouted out a few more old buildings in our area, one of them being the abandoned general store down in Sanders. It is a wealth of line, form, color and texture. Nature slowly is beginning to make a mark near the back of the store, adding more texture to the store’s structure. It was a fun day, a productive day.
I processed a few images from our trip; more to come in a few days. Click on the image at the top of the post to see more photos, or just click here.
And it is Friday. Enjoy the weekend, camera in hand.Read More
Really, really busy day yesterday. It seemed as if there was no time to sit and enjoy, but that usually never is truly the case. I did manage to sneak in three items worth noting for today.
If you ordered a Really Right Stuff L-plate for your Fuji X-T1 there is some good news. They are in production, in fact being shipped as we speak. If you ordered one really, really early in the process you should have been notified that yours is one of the first ones produced. And that it is on its way to you via UPS. Ours is set to arrive Monday. If you didn’t get in on the first batch the news is that yours should be ready in about another two weeks. RRS is making them as quickly as they can, but they also refuse to cut corners. But, never fear, the wait is nearly over.
There is a new issue of f11 magazine out. I keep urging you to subscribe. It’s free, and it’s worth signing up for. Each issue features some stunning images, in addition to informative interviews with the photographers who produced them. Click here for this month’s issue, and take the time to sign up for your very own subscription. And one correction from the last time I urged you to subscribe to this great magazine – it is produced in New Zealand, not in Australia.
And finally for today (but certainly not least) … my dear friend Richard Small is an amazing photographer, especially when it comes to shooting anything with wheels (or wings). He has some new shots up on his newly-redesigned website. It looks great, truly worth your time to do some browsing. Click here to visit with Richard. I promise you that it will be time well-spent.
Whew! Tough day yesterday. Time for some relaxing … camera in hand.Read More
This photo of the lovely Jamie generated a score of 5.577.
You need to pick out your best photo for a contest. Or an exhibit. Or to generate a sale. You are down to several that you really like, but you only get to choose one. What to do? What to do? The time honored method is to ask family and friends … ending up with answers all over the place. Or, the old “they all look good to me” reply. You think you know which one is best, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a definitive method for choosing? Well, there isn’t. Sorry. But there is a new, rather fun method of narrowing down your choice. I ran across it over on DP Review yesterday and had some fun trying it out. I think you will enjoy it, also.
A researcher at MIT by the name of Aditya Khosla has come up with an algorithm designed to predict how popular a photo will be. He has published a scientific paper on his method which you can read by clicking here. I read it, but I didn’t retain all of what he was trying to say. But I did get the gist of what he wanted to do and how he was trying to do it. Now, some of this wasn’t exactly rocket science (for example, people will like looking at images of girls in bikinis more than ones of kitchen spatulas). It was interesting, however, to discover we will prefer the red and yellow background to the blue or green one. Or that we prefer gradients across our images. There may be something to what Aditya is developing. Time will tell.
While this old barn earned a score of 4.648.
In the meantime is the fun part (at least for me). Aditya has developed a little computer calculator that allows you to upload one of your own photos and get a score related to how well people will like it. That is the part we someday could use, I guess, to figure out how to compose a photo or which one to select for that special exhibit. In the meantime it just is fun to compare some of your images against others, judging whether or not you agree with the computer’s predictions. I played around with a bunch of my images today, although I never could find out what would represent a good score (no scale, such as 1-10) was ever given for comparison purposes. But I did have images that ranged from the low 3′s to the upper 5′s. I thought that was interesting. And fun.
If you would like to try this out on some of your own images, click here to bring up the calculator page. Then you just upload an image and let the computer do the rest. The developer claims a correlation (correct ability to predict how popular your image will be) with a success rate of 80%. The fun quotient is at least that high right now. Give it a try.
While Kent Ervin’s photo of me generated only a 4.254 (maybe it’s the subject).
And here’s what I suggest …. Upload some photos and see what kinds of scores you generate. Then let me know how high (or low) they go, and for which types of images. And whether or not you and your friends agree. Sort of our own small scientific test. Science can not only be interesting and incredibly valuable. It also can be fun. This is one of those times.Read More
Click on this flower-among-the-flowers to see more photos.
Saturday we headed off to a beautiful church-run camp here in the Bloomington area, Camp Hunt. The property features creeks and woods and meadows and a lake … a beautiful setting in the rolling hills of Monroe County. One of our Bloomington Photography Club members was kind enough to invite the macro/closeup focus group out for a shoot, including a lakeside lunch. The morning was filled with friendship, beautiful weather and some early spring flowers. Sue and I shot with the Fuji X-T1, and it held its own with any of the larger DLSRs. We are learning more and more about this camera, its strengths and its few weaknesses. It was a fun day, one most appreciated after the winter we endured.
I have a few photos today that we took at Camp Hunt (plus just a couple from a later afternoon side trip to nearby McCormick’s Creek State Park). I am not an accomplished macro shooter (in fact I have registered for a Mike Moats workshop to get better at this particular genre of photography). But it was a most fun day, a most enjoyable day, and these images will give you a feel of the changes that are beginning to take place around us. And it was far too nice a day to spend inside, especially with our camera gear calling.
Click on the flower-amidst-the-flowers at the top of this post to see more images, or just click here.Read More
A quick post for this end-of-week Friday. As soon as the rains lets up I am off to do some shooting with the X-T1. And, speaking of it and following up on my very last comments from yesterday, this indeed is a very fine camera. I have followed Dutch photographer and instructor Frank Doorhof for quite a while now, watching him switch from Canon gear to Sony. But today he had a post that caught me by surprise – it was one detailing his praise and delight with Fuji’s X-T1. I didn’t know he was shooting with one, let alone that he was so taken with it. Just goes to show you that Fuji does know how to make cameras and lenses that cover a very wide spectrum of photographers. His article is worth reading; click here to visit his website.
Okay, it is looking a lot better outside. And it is Friday. Let’s enjoy the weekend … camera in hand.Read More
Just to finish out the X-T1 check/repair sage …. Yesterday our camera arrived home from Fuji headquarters as promised, overnighted from New Jersey. It looked the same and felt the same (a couple of Fuji Rumors commenters wrote they thought their cameras had the back controller buttons changed or improved. No difference at all on ours. I don’t believe Fuji was making changes of that nature to any of the new cameras). I don’t know if there was a light leak problem or not on ours. Or if anything was corrected. Or if it was checked and found not to have a problem at all. the enclosed packing slip simply noted we had sent the camera in to be checked for a possible light leak. Then it was marked completed and sent back to us. So I really can’t tell you if anything was wrong to begin with or not. And I found it a bit strange that the work slip noted our camera was in fair condition when they received it. Fair condition? It was brand new! There is not a mark or scratch or indentation or smudge or any artifact anywhere on it. But – it is home and working and we are finished dealing with Fuji repair. Hopefully for good.
And then the bottom line. There is no denying this is a fine, fine camera. Almost everything about it pleases just about everyone who picks one up. And the X-T1 was recently selected as the Best CSC (mirrorless) Expert camera of the year by the rather prestigious Technical Image Press Association (TIPA). And then they named Fuji’s companion 10-24 wide angle zoom lens as the Best CSC Expert lens. Pretty high praise for Fuji and these new products, to say the least. You can see what other products were selected as the best-of-the-best by clicking here. In any event, all you read and hear about the X-T1 and its lenses is for real. This is a very fine camera.Read More
Our Fuji X-T1 was one of the earliest serial numbers sent out, one of those with a possible light leak problem. To Fuji’s credit the company issued an apology as soon as the possible problem was discovered, and they published a service advisory on it. That advisory outlined steps to take, including a telephone number, to have the cameras examined and repaired (if needed) free of charge. An executive with Fuji also made the statement that this effort would become the company’s highest priority. Wow! Sounded really good, much better than some of the other camera companies were in handling their recent problems. But … the devil always is in the details. And the truth is not always the same as perception.
I called Fuji around the 20th or so of March to make arrangements for our X-T1 to be checked out at company headquarters (in New Jersey). The rep was quite friendly and helpful, taking my name and address and camera serial number. He assured me that I would receive a mailer to send the camera in for repair in just a couple of days. Wow! again … that was great service. Or so I thought. More than a week later I hadn’t received anything, so I called again. This time my rep was puzzled and upset that I hadn’t heard or received anything from them. He made sure he had all my info (and verified that I indeed had called previously), and he assured me he would make my case a priority. I would receive a packet from Fuji in just a couple of days. I was impressed, even posting about the positive experience (click here for that earlier post). Then reality sank in, and the experience became not so very positive.
I called a third time about a week later. No packet; no information; no mailer. My rep was quite puzzled; he couldn’t understand why I hadn’t received anything the first time, let alone the second. He asked me to wait one more day. I did, and the Fed Ex packet finally arrived. I boxed up the camera and had Fed Ex pick it up that same afternoon. That was on a Thursday; the camera was received in New Jersey that following Tuesday. Then nothing. Finally Sue called Fuji yet again. Our rep that time was friendly and helpful, as usual. It seems my last name was misspelled with Fuji … and our address was a line of gibberish instead of anything close to our address (or any address). But he tracked down the camera and told Sue it would be finished and leave the plant this past Monday. And, of course, we received no notification of that and no tracking number as promised. She called yet again yesterday. Sorry, camera didn’t make it as promised. But it was to go out yesterday for sure. And, to make up for all we had been through, it would be sent overnight delivery.
The good news (finally) is that we received a tracking number yesterday afternoon. Our X-T1 is on its way home. But the experience has gone (for me) from being a positive one to a frustrating one, filled with mistakes and missteps. I realize there were a lot of early cameras to be checked. I wasn’t expecting an overly-optimistic turnaround time. But we spent more than a month on this project, mostly filled with no information or wrong information from Fuji. Heck, Nikon did a lot better when I used their repair services in the past, and people complain about them all the time! Fuji said all the right things at all the right times. But their actual performance belied their words. They dropped the ball big time as far as I am concerned.
Maybe all companies are this way anymore. Perhaps I was carried away with Fuji’s reputation for upgrading their older cameras and lenses, even those like the X-100 that are discontinued. But I want to set the record straight today, to walk back that earlier post of mine a bit. My goal always is to give unbiased, accurate reporting (to the best of my knowledge and ability) on issues I post about. Fuji finally got the job done, as they said they would. But they did not do it in the manner they suggested they would. And therein lies the proof of how good they are. Or aren’t.Read More
Click on the old barn to see more photos from our Columbus trip.
Today I added more photos from Saturday’s LAWN outing to Columbus and Bartholomew County. In addition to Anderson Falls we shot several old barns in the area, testaments to past times. The old buildings won’t last forever, perhaps our images will contribute to the memories of our communities when that time comes. But we are so fortunate to be able to see and capture them today, to spend time in this glorious world of ours with good friends and cameras in hand. I hope you enjoy these additional photos a bit as much as we enjoyed taking them.
Click on the image at the top of the post to see more photos, or just click here. And if you are ever in our area, take some time to seek out these locations on your own. You’ll find it worth your time.Read More