BPC Macro Outing: Camp Hunt Photos

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.

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Frank Says … “X-T1 Good!”


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.

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Fuji X-T1 Repaired … I Think. Camera Still Held In High Regard.


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.

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Correcting An Earlier Post: Fuji Repair Of X-T1 Not All That Great


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.

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More Columbus Photos: A Good Day

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.

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A Columbus Trip: Photos

Click on the image of Anderson Falls to see more photos.

This past Saturday was a Bloomington Photo Club outing for the LAWN focus group (landscape, architecture, wildlife and nature). It was a gloriously warm spring day, just the time to load up the car with photo gear and go searching for a subject. We were expertly led over to nearby Bartholomew County and its county seat of Columbus by Bob Barber (it also was Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday, Bob!). Our group spent the early morning at Anderson Falls, a picturesque county park that turned out to be both challenging and fun to shoot. Our recent rains gave us plenty of water to work with, plenty of icy water (as evidenced by the intrepid Beth Wooten, who took an unplanned dip while crossing above the falls). This definitely is an area to check back on as the plants and trees surrounding the falls begin to burst with color in the coming days. As it was, we found a few early wildflowers on the nearby trails, and the day’s sunshine helped to make them shine for us.

Then Bob led us on to some old barns and an abandoned farmhouse. We were attracted as always to the lines, form and shape of the old buildings. There is a real appeal to these old structures, something that reminds us of where we came from and those to whom we owe a debt of gratitude. I still am processing images, but I wanted to get a few up this morning to give you a feel for what the outing was like Saturday. It was a good trip with fine companions.

Click on the image of the falls to see more images, or just click on this link. And check back in the near future as I see what else from the trip caught our cameras’ eyes. What a wonderful world we have been given.

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Another Brown County Barn: Photos

Click on the Helmsburg Road barn to see a few more images.

Yesterday was proof that spring has (finally) arrived here in our Bloomington area. Sue and I headed off to Breeden Road to see if the abandoned house we enjoyed shooting a couple of weeks ago had gained any additional color. It hadn’t. I added one more shot of one of the doors, trying to emphasize its form, line and texture. As the weather warms we may see some green on the vines that are slowly enveloping the old homestead. Stand by.

Then we headed over to Brown County State Park, the site of our His Light Workshop this October. The park hasn’t blossomed yet; it still is brown and bare. Give it a couple of weeks and we will see what gives then. The same thing was true for neighboring Yellowwood State Forest … no color, lots of potential. Then we drove a couple of Brown County’s back roads. It just was too nice a day to be inside, especially with a backseat full of camera gear.

We drove down Helmsburg Road and spotted an old barn that is on its last legs. Its strong lines catch your eye; you see what it might have been in its prime. We received permission to take some photos, and I just like the strength that comes through. The old soldier has seen its better days, but if you like old structures you will be drawn to this one. I posted a couple of images from today into a gallery on Barns that I already have. You can take a look by clicking here.

It was a good day. You see life stirring everywhere you look, the renewal of our precious world. An image or two worth sharing makes it even more fun. Camera in hand.

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Help A Fellow Photographer: Vote!

When you receive more than 50,000 entries in a world-wide photo contest you are doing something right. And that is just what the Smithsonian Institute has managed to do this year. Soliciting images in six separate categories, Smithsonian photo editors faced the Herculean task of narrowing the entries down to ten finalists in each category (natural, travel, people, Americana, altered and mobile). Whew! That is a tough assignment, even if it involves viewing thousands of beautiful photos. But they have pulled it off.

Now, imagine you are one of those ten finalists (in each of the six categories). That photo is your baby; you care about it so vey much. It carries your hopes and dreams, and maybe a few apprehensions. And you know that the fate of that baby now rests in the hands of your fellow photographers … us. That’s right – us. We have the opportunity to view the finalists over on the Smithsonian site and then to vote for our favorite in each category. Our votes will determine the final winners. Whew! Another big responsibility. But one we should take quite seriously.

Imagine any of the photos were your own … and that you were depending on others (with the power to vote or not) to determine your fate. Wouldn’t you hope that your fellow shooters would at least view the images, let alone vote? There are some exceptional photos in this collection; it would be a shame if we didn’t offer the authors our support. And you get to enjoy seeing some very fine images while doing your photographic duty; how great is that?

Click here to visit the Smithsonian site and cast your votes. It won’t take you very long, and it is a most enjoyable task. Consider it a duty to our fellow photographers. Who knows? Next year I may be voting for one of your images!

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Another Fuji X-T1 Day: Why You Want One


Two new reviews of the Fuji X-T1 are pushing it to the top of the camera heap.

Are you one of those with a federal tax refund? Planning on tucking it safely away in your mattress? Didn’t think so … the lure of all those things-you-just-can’t-do-without is pretty strong. And if you are a photographer, Fuji’s hot-selling X-T1 may be the object of your desires. If so, your desire just received two shots in the arm.

DP Review is a most respected site for camera and lens reviews. The testers are thorough, giving the rest of us all kinds of details to digest. No less a personage than my dear friend Bill Fortney relies on it for unbiased information (and when Bill listens, I listen). Yesterday they published their rather long-awaited review of the latest Fuji. And from a quality standpoint the wait was worth it for Fuji. Bottom line, the X-T1 received a coveted gold award for excellence (its score of 84 points puts it in the very top tier of reviewed cameras). There have been a lot of reviews of this camera on the web for some time now. But the DP Review one is a most prestigious one. Click here to read it, especially if you have any interest at all in a mirrorless system.

Then there is another review of the X-T1 that I found to be informative. It stands out because it is by a shooter who posted some of the images he took with the new camera on a swing through Asia, images that both catch your eye and demonstrate what the X-T1 and the superlative Fuji lenses are capable of. This review is by Gary Tyson (a British professional photographer), and I first saw parts of it over at the Fuji Rumors website. The review is more than a Fuji-fan-boy post; Gary is an experienced shooter, a most talented shooter. And he posts a couple of photos in raw form, unprocessed – really good unprocessed images. This camera and its supporting lenses are the real deal. Click here for the full review and to see Gary’s photos. If you are thinking at all about an X-T1, I promise you will be tempted to do some real thinking after you are finished.

Yes, we are X-T1 owners. But I always have been a Nikon shooter, and I have no plans of abandoning my D800. I receive nothing from Fuji or any other site for my opinions. But the X-T1 is giving the big boys a real run for their money, folks. The lenses are superb, and there is a rather full lineup of them. The X-system camera are small, lightweight and a joy to carry around compared to their bigger counterparts. The X-T1 is the king of all the X cameras, and it is fast gaining a reputation as the finest of the mirrorless gear (arguably). The quality, especially the colors, of the Fuji cameras is outstanding. And 16 megapixels is fast proving itself (all over again) as plenty of resolution for almost all of what we do. In short, the X-T1 and Fuji lenses are a hit here in my household. I have nothing to quibble with on the two reviews we have mentioned today. I add a hearty endorsement to what they discovered and reported.

So call it Fuji X-T1 Day all over again. And proof may be in the pudding … the camera has been out for a while now, but it still is difficult to find in stock at even the big camera houses. The best barometer of what is good and worth the asking price may be how photographers vote with their dollars. The Fuji X-T1 is earnig its keep – all over the world.

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Shoot And Process HDRs: A Recommendation


A capture from the Midnight in Paris video series I recommend, produced by Trey Ratcliff.

The days of either loving HDRs or hating them pretty much are over. By that I mean that in general the processing of HDR images has become more sophisticated, less of the over-the-top stuff we saw a few years ago. HDR now seems to be a bit more focused on its real intent, if you will …bringing out the complete tonal range of a photo without introducing the wild colors that used to scream HDR at the top of its lungs. Quite a few of my friends now process their images by shooting one exposure for the lights and another for the darks, then combining the two in layers and masking it to do their blending. That also is HDR to me, even if some photographers might quibble over definitions. In any event, HDR images can be beautiful and eye-catching and real art. And IMHO Trey Ratcliff is capable of doing it all (and teaching it all) when it comes to HDR.

Yesterday I was roaming around his site, something I hadn’t done for a while. I discovered a video series he has for sale, combining his talents with those of a fine art photographer by the name of Miss Aniela. Now, don’t let that name (or title) throw you off – I watched her at work during a Creative Live presentation last month. She is good. And talented. And creative. The two photographers complement each other well, combining for a photo shoot/workshop on the grounds of a chateau in France. The series is called Midnight in Paris (although they are not in Paris and they shoot during the daytime). There are separate videos for each photographer, each shooting and then processing images. There are some of Trey’s raw files for you to work with in post, and the entire series is sort of a you-were-there workshop that you can complete at home. It is for sale, of course, but the price is pretty reasonable.

There is more than three hours of training in this series. You can view a video introduction for free if you are at all interested in HDR by clicking here. And if you would find yourself tempted to sign up, it is easy to find coupons online for Trey’s store (usually at 15% off the list price). Having watched both these artists in actions on other videos on other sites and having watched the introduction on Trey’s site, I took the plunge and signed up (finding a 15% discount code of RONMART15). I consider instruction videos of techniques I try to use over and over to be capital investments, reference materials. This one falls into that category.

I watched the first Trey video in the series, and it was vintage Trey. he has a comfortable, easy going style of instruction that I am drawn to. I find it easy to learn from him. I immediately picked up a tip on shooting HDRs in very low light that will serve me well in the future. The production values are good; the location of the workshop is one that reminds me some sites near my home. While I may not be into copying, I am open to inspiration from all sorts of sources. This series is that kind of material.

If you are interested at all, click here to visit Trey’s site and see some of the work he produces almost daily. He is good. And he is good at explaining what he does and why he does it. I recommend this video series to all of you. I am excited about learning new techniques of all kinds … and polishing the ones I already know. This series does both.

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Upcoming Red Moon: Maybe You Will See It

This is an image I could hope for … but it belongs to Trey Ratcliff (click on it to visit with him).

2014 offers photographers the rather infrequent opportunity to view and capture a ‘red’ moon (also known as a ‘blood’ moon, this is the reddish phase of a lunar eclipse). Now, as with any nighttime event in our North American skies, our worst enemy will be modern society’s propensity toward light pollution. If you are anywhere near an outdoor light source (say, a street lamp or city glow) your chances of getting a great lunar shot diminish greatly (and pretty rapidly). Requirement number one, therefore, is find a location free from stray light to attempt your lunar shot. Next, figure out when it will take place in your specific locale.

Sky and Telescope Magazine (another new one for me!) has a nice little article that illustrates this rather rare phenomenon, complete with a chart that tells you when it will take place in your time zone (click here for the article and the chart). This event will be a total lunar eclipse, and the photos in the article illustrate how spectacular images can be. So consult the chart, and make your plans accordingly. Then, read up on how to maximize your chances of a good photo.

One of the best (and most concise) articles I found was by a very fine outdoors photographer, Ian Plant. His five quick tips for photographing this eclipse can be viewed by clicking here. Something similar in advice can be seen by clicking here and reading the article published by DP Review. Brush up your skills and ready your gear, including your longest lens. Then, hope for some help from Mother Nature.

By that I mean that the best laid plans of mice and men … I have read up and studied, and I have a pretty dark location in mind for shooting. I own an 80-400 lens, and the 400 portion would be fine for this particular event. But … the weather forecast for my town is for of all things a low of 29 degrees, with a 70% chance of rain or snow. In any event you know that forecast spells clouds and an overcast sky. If I wanted to kill any chance of a good image of an eclipse I would order up an overcast or cloudy sky. Mother Nature is the wild card for this rare event, and the hand she is dealing here is not a good one. I certainly wish you better luck wherever you may be (or can quickly get to).

Best of luck to all you dedicated shooters out there, and don’t you worry about all of us here in the Bloomington area (sniff, sniff). We will be wishing you the best … camera in hand.

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Surviving Nature With A Camera: What NOT To Do


The bull elk in this image made his presence known to us in a big way.

Spring finally has arrived here in Indiana, and with it comes the lure of the Great Outdoors. Even dedicated studio shooters find it difficult to resist the sheer beauty of nature in all its many and varied forms. No matter where you live or travel Mother Nature has something bound to catch your eye and lift your heart. And there we stand – so very privileged to take it all in with cameras in hand. Life can be so good.

Spring also heralds the onrush of summer and vacations and travel and photo opportunities of all kinds. The opportunity to see and experience and photograph things-not-seen-before is one of life’s real joys, both for you and for those around you. Don’t allow that chance-of-a-lifetime to become a tale of danger and sorrow. Or worse.

What brings these thoughts to mind for me today is a video passed on to me by my good friend Richard Small. It details the nerve-pounding danger a photographer in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park found himself in while trying for some of those I-just-gotta-get-this-shot images. The video turned out to be one of those “can’t look away” types; you find yourself fascinated by what could come next. And you quickly realize what started out as entertainment turns rapidly into a very dangerous situation. It really hit home to me because I came close to witnessing something similar last year out in Olympic National Park near the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington State. The encounter I saw unfolding fortunately never progressed as far as the one in the video … but not because the person involved was any smarter than the shooter here. In my case the timely appearance of a Park Service Ranger prevented what could have been a real tragedy. Take a look at today’s video, and I will explain a bit more.

Folks, that was a dangerous situation! My best friends and I never really got over our amazement at some of the situations the public would put themselves in when we still were at the police department. I can understand some of our youngest citizens believing with that youthful bravado of theirs that nothing bad can happen to them. But someone the age of the photographer in this video? Incredible! No shot was worth the risk he took in possibly losing an eye or other body part from those sharp antlers … or even worse. And rather than try to signal for help or slowly and cautiously try to move toward safety, he tried to compete in a head-butting contest! I still can’t figure out whether I am more amazed by his lack of common sense or his determination to take photos in the midst of the situation. I do know he was foolhardy in not moving away when first confronted by this agitated elk. And that he owes a great debt of gratitude to the person who showed up in the white vehicle to move him to safety. Better lucky than good? Better to err on the side of caution, if you ask me.

My own experience? We were in the Hoh Rain Forest, on the home range of the largest herd of Roosevelt elk in the U.S. It was rutting season, when the bulls were rounding up harems of females. We didn’t see a lot of them, but they are magnificent when seen up close. And it was thrilling when we heard them whistling in the far distance throughout the day. When we drove into the park we saw a young bull working a creek some hundred or so yards from us, keeping a close eye on his two female companions. And we knew they were there in part because a crowd of photographers had gathered on the roadway in sight of them, a crowd we joined with our longer lenses. Well, it wasn’t all that long when we saw the bull elk watching back, intently. And shortly thereafter he began working his way back up the creek toward us, keeping his gaze directly on our group. It didn’t take a Jane Goodall to figure out pretty quickly that he didn’t appreciate our presence. And that there was more than a passing chance that he had decided to do something about it. We passed the word, and we headed back to our vehicles (discretion being the better part of valor in this instance). Except for one photographer … of course.

That one photographer never budged – even when members of his own family urged him to retreat to the car. And that young bull never slowed down; he just kept coming. Fortunately, a park ranger showed up and ordered the shooter to leave the area. I say ‘ordered’ because the photographer at first refused to move! He wanted to argue about his safety and his rights! We could tell the ranger had about had it when our shooter finally gave up and headed back to his vehicle. And as we began to drive away the bull elk stopped and watched us go. There was no doubt that he was making sure we actually did. He meant business.

As we all know, nature is a glorious expression of God’s love for us. We are so privileged to be able to share in that glory, camera or not. But we never should take nature for granted. Folks, there are situations and places out there in which we can be hurt or even killed. A few years ago we were at Horseshoe Bend near Page, AZ with Bill Fortney and Jim Begley (an incredible location and an inspiring His Light workshop). We were warned about the dangers of getting too close to the various edges overlooking the formation and the river below. Just a couple of weeks prior a photographer fell some 1400 feet to his death when he did just that. The Western philosophy (and that of our parks) is that your safety is your own responsibility. And that is a good point for us to remember, no matter where we visit. That’s also why I decided to pass on the video that began today’s post. Use some common sense when photographing; take a great interest in your own safety.

Most of us are going to hit the roads at least a bit during the coming warmer months. What could be better than to do so with a camera in our hands? And what could be worse than sacrificing our health and safety to foolishness and ignorance? This ain’t rocket science, folks. At times it’s simply attending to your own survival. Be aware; nature is everywhere (a new slogan I just came up with). Make sure you offer her the respect she deserves.

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Test Your Photo Vision. Then Start Carrying A Real Camera.

Just a bit of fun today, an exercise that isn’t scientific in any manner. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t instructive in at least one small way. Let me show you what I mean.

What follows is a short video first posted over on a site named The Slanted Lens (I saw it after that on The Imaging Resource website). It is a video designed to test your camera IQ, if you will – can you pick out which final image that was made with each of six tested cameras? The idea is to give you some fun while pointing out (if once again needed) that there are indeed some major differences in the end result you will get given your choice of production. Now, we all know that … but a visual demonstration is usually effective, and we all can use reminders from time to time on even the most basic of photographic decisions. Watch below, and then allow me to make a point.

Comparing 6 Cameras

How did you do? I found it easy to pick out the iPhone and the iPad shots, even to getting which was which correct. I have been a Nikon shooter for a while now and am used to their colors, so I got the Nikon correct. The Canons I couldn’t tell apart, but I did have a pretty good idea which was the Sony (and to be honest, I didn’t care for its renderings). But, a couple of points:

None of the images would have been acceptable to me straight out of the camera. Learn to process your images to make them look their best (even while trying as much as possible to get everything right in the camera). You owe it to your subject to make whatever you shoot look its best; that’s why we have Photoshop and all those other great programs on our computers. Second, stop being content to use your phone as a camera. I know, the convenience factor is off the charts. And phones do so much more than a mere camera can do, so why carry both? That video should have demonstrated why. Cameras, even cheap little cameras, are better almost all the time than your phone. You are a photographer … carry a camera with you! And third (but not least), it’s not the camera; its the photographer carrying the camera that matters. We all know that; this is just another chance to remind ourselves of that important fact.

And that is a good lesson for myself for today.

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Lightroom Mobile App: Nice, But With A Got’cha


I own Lightroom; I like Lightroom; I have used it for quite a while now. Yesterday Adobe released an update to this go-to (for me) program, one that included support for the Fuji X-T1. Thank you very much, Adobe! And there was a nice surprise tucked inside – a new app that makes Lightroom quite mobile. Thank you again, Adobe. But the app has at least one sizable gotcha that means I won’t be using it.

First, you have to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to download and use the app for more than a 30-day trial period. I don’t really get that since those who own Lightroom without a subscription still have paid for the full use of it. But, that is not what is stopping me from using it. And you have to be an Apple user to use Lightroom Mobile – no Android users need apply (yet). But I have an iPad, so that doesn’t matter to me. What is the deal breaker for me is the syncing aspect of Lightroom.

My wife and I share our subscription to Photoshop CC (which includes Lightroom). It is registered in my name simply because I was the one who signed us up (however reluctantly in the beginning). Adobe fairly allows us to install and use our programs on two computers, so it is on my PC desktop and on her MacBook Pro. She has a newer iPad, and I inherited her older model. So far, so good. Sue downloaded the mobile app right away today after upgrading to the latest version of Lightroom. It worked just as advertised, quickly and completely. So far, so even better. Then I downloaded the app (I had earlier upgraded the mother program, also). It all worked perfectly. Thank you, Adobe. Oh, right … there was a gotcha in there, wasn’t there?

Sue noticed that she had a notice on her laptop that indicated she had another 29 days before her trial period with Lightroom Mobile expired (she was logged in with her Adobe ID as required). I was logged into my program with my Adobe ID, the one under which we had signed up for Photoshop CC. No disclaimer or warning for me; my app was permanent. I had her logout and then login again, this time with my ID (the one CC runs under). Voila! the disclaimer disappeared; no more trial period. Then came the gotcha. When her images were synced, they all showed up on my iPad as well. And my images showed up on hers. Now, Sue is a good photographer with a fine eye. I like her photos … but I don’t want them taking up space on my iPad. I don’t want to flip through her collections to get to mine. And she doesn’t want to do the same with my files. We tried deleting her collections from my iPad, with the result of deleting them from her laptop Lightroom collections. And then she deleted mine! This not only left us without our images on the mobile devices, it also forced us to go back and recreate collections in our main Lightroom programs. What a pain (and disappointment).

We tried renaming collections and moving collections and copying collections and making new folders and everything else we could think of to fool the mobile app. And we have yet to do so. I finally called Adobe. My rep was most sympathetic and she tried to be helpful, but … no can do. The policy of allowing us to use Lightroom on two computers means we truly are sharing. Everything. For the app’ purposes the Adobe ID login rules – and we only have the one. If we wanted her to use her own, a separate one, we would have to pay for a separate subscription. Another ten dollars a month for what we already own. Needless to say, we are not going that route.

Well, why not just keep both sets of photos on both iPads? Turns out they use up more storage space than I would like (or can afford). We are photographers, and we take and process lots of photos. Over much time at all we would find ourselves out of space. Now, I suspect this app isn’t meant to act completely like Lightroom. By that I mean the marvelous way it organizes images into all kinds of collections and sets of collections. I suppose Adobe envisioned it as a way to work offline or do some basic processing while on the move, which is fine. But I also suspect a whole bunch of us see it as a truly easy and appreciated way to send images over to our mobile devices as a travelling (and rather permanent) gallery. Would it work that way for all you single users out there? Apparently. But there have to be a fair number of us who share as families on those two allowable computers, and we are going to have to make choices on what we do next.

Sue is going to use the app in our house. I have deleted it from my iPad, and I just won’t use it. That solves our syncing problem, but it doesn’t make the app useful at all to me. I would appreciate it greatly if Adobe could make whatever software change that would be needed to allow a second login on that second machine. Seems plausible to me … but I may be a bit naïve when it comes to software (and a bit biased here regarding its use). In any event, thank you, Adobe for the Lightroom upgrade. And if any of you run into this dilemma and discover a solution, please let me know. Two dedicated Lightroom users would be forever grateful.

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Jack Graham’s Cleaning Cloth: A Recommendation


You know the deep feelings I hold for Bill Fortney as a friend and mentor. When Bill recommends something (or someone) I pay close attention – very close attention. He has steered me in the right direction on so many questions I have had that I have lost count. And Bill recommends the talents and vision and workshops of Jack Graham very highly. The two have combined to put on some great workshops in the past couple of years, a fact that other good friends who have attended completely endorse. In the past Bill received as a present a cleaning cloth for lenses and cameras that he just loves. He passed one on to me, and it is hands down the best such cloth I ever have used (add in a second endorsement from Sue). So today I want to give you a link from Jack on where to find the exact cloth he uses.

You may click here to visit Amazon to find the yellow 3M cleaning cloth Jack recommends so highly. Now, this link is for perhaps a few more cloths than you might need right now. But you will be amazed how many of your friends would be most grateful to receive a cloth or two either as presents (or buy a couple from you). These are the real deal. Give them a try; I promise you will love them.

And … it’s good to be back. When I had my computer system in for some tweaks it came home a bit out of sorts, it seems. I lost the ability to show images in Outlook, then the ability to play most kinds of videos (including my own). It seems the cloning we did of one old drive didn’t play well with he rest of the system. I owe a big thank you to Ryan Richardson at PC Max for getting me up and running again, better than ever. But I’m back. Camera in hand.

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