Friday, September 27, 2013

Little Miss Ryann

Just looking at some pictures I took the other day. I kind of like this one of my granddaughter Ryann looking up at my and holding my hand. This is a straight out of camera jpeg taken on the Fuji X100s (have I mentioned it's a fantastic camera?)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Port Alberni Fall Fair

I've been busy with some home projects and that's my excuse for not posting anything of late. I haven't even taken much in the way of pictures for awhile but here is one from our local fall fair earlier this month. In color even!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ryann at the Bullhead Derby

What the heck is a bullhead derby? Every year in Port Alberni, B.C., where I live, they have a big Salmon Derby. Part of the festivities is a "mini-derby" for the kids where they bring their rods down to the river bank and try and catch these little fish called bullheads. Then they measure them and give out a bunch of prizes. Just a fun day for everyone.

This year, my daughter took her two kids, with the help of Grandma and Papa (me). I mainly ended up entertaining my granddaughter Ryann (who for some reason just adores me) while my daughter fished for bullheads with her son. Naturally, I had my X100s and took a bunch of pictures. Later on, while the prizes were being announced I followed Ryann around the parking lot and got this shot that I just love and captures her already independent nature (she'll be two in November) as she heads off across the lot to check out the motorbikes or just does what she wants.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ferry Terminal Candid

Here's another candid shot taken a couple weeks ago while waiting for the ferry to bring us back to Vancouver Island and home. The question? What is everyone talking about?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Photoshop Photography Program

This is good news from Adobe out of Photoshop World in Vegas today: the Photoshop Photography Program. $10 monthly for the latest Photoshop, Lightroom, Behance Membership (whatever that is) and 20 gb of cloud storage.

I'm already thinking this is the route I will now take. I have been trialing Lightroom 5 since it will handle the RAW files from the Fuji X100s. I never upgraded from CS5 to CS6 and I wasn't planning on going the "cloud" route with them because, as an amateur, I couldn't justify the potential monthly cost down the road. But, a quick calculation of what I've spent since 2007 when I bought CS3 and then upgraded to CS4 and CS5 shows that I've spent more than $10/month on the initial purchase and the upgrades and that is with the 15% NAPP discount. I was anticipating never having any later version of Photoshop than CS5 but $10 monthly gets me that plus Lightroom and I was going to shell out $130 for Lightroom alone. That's 13 months right there on Lightroom alone.

Do I like Adobe's move to cloud subscription? Not really, but, if the deal is good enough.....and this seems like it is, so bring it home. Pretty sure it will be available at that rate in Canada since I've always purchased direct from Adobe. If it isn't, I'll be disappointed but I will go back to my other plan of Lightroom alone and my "outdated" CS5.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Span of a Lifetime

I've never been much for adding titles to any of my photographs, but there is something about this photo that calls out for a title. This is another shot from my walk around at the Vernon Farm Market and a happy accident. I was shooting the older woman looking at something in a stall. I didn't see the younger woman walking towards me in the viewfinder and only noticed her when I reviewed the picture. I like it quite a bit because of the obvious difference in age, both at a farm market, both beautiful. It speaks to me of age, generations, differences and similarities all at once. I can almost imagine the older one being the young one 60 or 70 years ago.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Fabulous X100s, Candids, and Lightroom 5

I've been trying to write this for a few days now, but just too busy with having to go back to work after holidays, uploading and sorting about 1200 pictures, while trying to learn Lightroom 5 that I'm trialing and already pretty sure I'm going to buy.

First, the Fuji X100s is nothing short of fabulous, almost perfect, with the only flaw being the person wielding the camera. Inside, outside, bright sunshine, low indoor light, nothing seemed to phase it. Oh, occasionally I would forget to look at the settings in the viewfinder and take a shot in bright sunlight with the aperture still at f2 and end up with a blown out picture, but, like I said, I'm pretty much the only flaw.

Of course, I took tons of pictures of grandkids and family, something I haven't done much of the last couple of years. But the handiness of the small, fixed lens camera was awesome. I grabbed it off the shelf all the time and got lots of memories from our visit.

I have an interest in candid photography (I don't think I can call it street photography yet) so I practiced "shooting from the hip" at a couple of malls and the Vernon Farm Market (BC interior). I manually focused the camera at about 10 feet and just shot with it located around chest level. Got a few good ones and a great story moment.

Here's a shot I took that is part of the story.
I had just taken this and was chimping (looking at the picture on the back of the camera) when the girl on the right said "Excuse me." I looked up thinking, uh oh, she saw me take her picture and didn't like it. (For those of you who think this is "sneaky" photography, maybe, but it is a long and legitimate form of photography, one that interests me very much and one that I'm trying to learn how to do with more skill and courage.) Anyway, I'm thinking this might be an issue when she asked, "Is that the Fuji X100s?" Or words to that effect, referring to the camera. She had seen it and recognized it because a friend of hers had been looking at one. So we chatted a bit, her name was Riley. I told her the camera was great, asked if I could take her picture and took a black and white and then a color one so she could see the quality. I should have talked to her longer but I did find out she loves her camera, an Olympus OM-D I think. It was a nice, although all too brief, encounter and I look forward to that kind of interaction in the future. What I read of some street photographers is that often the interaction after taking a picture is one of the great things about this type of photography.

And here's a picture that she "posed" for. This was actually taken in color (in camera jpeg conversion) but I converted it to black and white in Lightroom. I kind of like it, plus it's my first "street" portrait of a total stranger although she approached me as opposed to the other way around.

Oh, and just an interesting aside, the two women and baby in the background on the right of the picture happen to be my wife, Rena, daughter-in-law, Amanda and granddaughter, Eden. Don't think I realized they were there until I looked at the picture later.

Now, a bit about Lightroom 5. I have been shooting in RAW only on my Canon but I never moved into Lightroom, being comfortable with Photoshop, and it's Bridge program and Camera Raw program that is kind of integrated into Photoshop. I had trialed earlier versions of Lightroom but just never got the hang of it. The problem with a new camera is that the version of Adobe Camera Raw that came with CS5 doesn't and won't ever support the RAW files from the Fuji. So, I could upgrade to CS6 (although that's the final non-subscription version of Photoshop) or jump on the Lightroom bandwagon. Since the newest version of Lightroom just came out it's a bit of a no-brainer to go that route. So, I bought Scott Kelby's new book and have been learning the program the last few days. Even though I'm shooting in RAW plus jpeg on the Fuji and the jpegs are awesome and the in-camera conversion is great, I still need something that will allow me to work with the RAW files if I want. Plus, Lightroom is also a great photo sorting and management program designed for photographers so it's time (and a bit cheaper to buy than to upgrade Photoshop again.)

Long blog post that nobody is reading but it's good for me.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mom and Child

On our way back home from the trailer the other day, my wife and I stopped to check out the sand sculpting exhibition at Parksville, B.C. beach. Of course, I took the X100s with me in the hopes of getting some people shots as well as some of the sandsculpting displays. I noticed a mother and her child walking, although the little girl liked to spend more time lying down it seems. Here are three pictures of the sequence I grabbed. I think it makes a nice, quick little story. In the second one, she had looked up and then said "sorry" because she thought she was in the way of the picture. I've been reading quite a bit about street photography techniques and one is this very thing, act like a tourist and make like you focusing on something further away.

Those of you who may think this is "creeping", be aware that there is a long history of this type of photography and I hope to do more of it as time goes by. Looking forward to walking around Victoria or Vernon or even my streets when I get the chance.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

X100s RAW Converter

I have discovered something that I think I'm going to love with the Fuji X100s. I bought 32GB cards so that I could shoot in RAW + JPEG in order to have the best of both worlds. Most reviews of the camera have indicated a far above average in camera JPEG conversion and I have so far found this to be true. Almost enough to convince me to shoot in JPEG only. Especially since Camera Raw in my CS5 version of Photoshop doesn't read the RAF files from this camera. I have pretty much decided to finally make the jump to Lightroom and learn that program but haven't got there yet.

But, the other day, I grabbed this quick shot of my granddaughter Ryann while she was sitting on the couch in our trailer. 

The camera was in my C1 custom mode which is set for B&W with a yellow filter. It was an ok shot, but she a gorgeous little redhead and I thought the shot would have been better in color. I took a couple of other shots (in color) but none were as good as that first one. So, let's change it in the RAW converter. It's easy, while viewing the picture you hit the Q button and all the options come up. You can change exposure compensation, film mode, color saturation, highlight and shadow compensation, plus or minus. Basically, anything you can change your custom settings to. Now, the only real problem is the tiny picture doesn't really allow you to see what affect your changes are making, but here's the thing. When you hit okay, it takes you to the full size frame before you actually commit to saving the resulting JPEG conversion so if you don't like it you just go back and make the adjustments you want.  Then, when you are ready to save you hit okay and it saves the picture. Now I have the color picture that I wanted.
So, shooting in RAW + JPEG is the best of both worlds. Most of the time I hope to not make that mistake and shoot in the mode I want, but, if I make a mistake, or don't have time to change because the picture is there now, or decide that something would look better in a different film mode, then the option is there with the RAW capture. All without having to download to a computer first and then do everything you want. That's still an option if you want, but not necessary. Do I still need Lightroom? At this point I don't know, although the database side of it is the bigger part of Lightroom. But for RAW conversion. This little gem of a camera may just do a better job of it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Having a Little Fun with Toy Camera Mode

I just wanted to take a couple of pictures tonight. Thought I would try the Toy Camera filter on the Fuji X100s. A shaft of sunlight, Batman and macro mode gave me this. Just for fun.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Replacement X100s

The replacement Fuji X100s showed up yesterday. Fantastic service from The Camera Store in Calgary. I've seldom had to return anything I've ordered online and they made the experience far more bearable than I expected. Nothing more disappointing than waiting for a product for almost and month and then have it fail after six day. Here's hoping the new one is problem free.

Had it out this morning with the two grandchildren who live in town and had some decent results with it. I had to tweak a couple in ACR because I'm still learning how the camera works with exposure compensation and underexposed a couple of shots by a bit. I also cropped them to 8x10 format. I love the Velvia mode for color shots. I like vivid, saturated colors and this does a nice job. Funny, I never used Fuji film much back in the film days and now I'm kind of wondering why not. I don't think I like the softer negative mode much and will probably make a change to that custom setting. But I love, love, love the black and white with yellow filter mode. Just very nice so far.

Still lots of experimenting to do. Looking forward to the camera lasting more than six days.

Here are a couple of black and whites I especially liked. And, in case you don't know the specs on this camera, it is a fixed 23mm lens which, with the crop factor, renders an equivalent field of view of 35mm.

Ryann: ISO 200, f 2.0, 1/1000 sec.

Seth: ISO 400, f 8. 1/420 sec.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

X100s Pics

Here are a few pictures I took with the Fujifilm X100s before it broke.

X100s Woes and More Waiting

I was thrilled to get my Fuji X100s a couple of weeks ago. Charged the battery, formatted the SD cards and started learning how to use the camera. It's a fantastic camera and I played around with it for awhile. Took some pictures of the grandkids a few days after I got it and it did a couple of funny things just before I came home. Then it wouldn't turn on. Thought the battery was dead and put a different one into it. Eventually it started up again. The next day when I turned it on, it had reset. I had to enter the language, date, time, etc. although my custom settings were still there. Used it a couple of days later for awhile and then it shut down and that was it. So it has been returned and now I'm on the wait list for a replacement. I think I'm at the top of the list, but I'm back to patiently waiting for this gem. Hopefully, the next one will be completely problem free.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Waiting for the Fuji X100s

This is a beginning effort to get back to blogging and relate it to my passion for photography that unfortunately has lagged a bit lately.

What has got me excited again is this gorgeous little Fujifilm X100s. I track the blogs of both David Hobby and Zack Arias but had just clicked past their reviews of this camera. I finally did read the review on Luminous Landscape by Nick Devlin and he linked to David's and Zack's reviews and I was hooked, hooked, hooked. I had been quite interested in the X100 when it came out a couple of years ago but the subsequent negative aspects kept me from biting at that time. I have been looking for awhile for a camera that was small enough to take with me everywhere, but that also produced the high quality images that I have grown accustomed to with my (now ancient but still great) Canon 30D and the L70-200IS zoom lens that I use and love. I had considered the G series in Canon but didn't really want to drop to the smaller sensor. I did buy a Lumix waterproof, shockproof point and shoot for my trips to Mexico the last couple of years and it was great for what I wanted it for. I thought I would be excited by the new Canon mirrorless camera but, meh, not really.

So why the Fuji? APS-C sensor, same size as on my Canon; great reviews; cool looking, an awesome viewfinder, optical and electronic, etc. Even a fixed 35mm equivalent lens has me excited about new possibilities, new ideas and all relate to some of the type of photography I have taken and want to take. Kind of street photography type pics, definitely candids. In short, it has reinvigorated my desire to shoot.

The only problem? Nobody has one. I ordered one on May 28 at The Camera Store in Calgary but no idea when they will get a new supply. It's been over three weeks since I ordered it. No other online stores have any, so I guess it's just a matter of being patient. Every time I open my email I'm hoping to see a message that my order has shipped but now we have floods in Calgary so who knows. I've got my extra batteries, lens hood and Lexar 32gb memory cards from Amazon already, they just need a camera to attach to.

Patience, patience, patience. In the meantime, I'll get this blog going again, figure out Google +, think about finally jumping into Lightroom and just wait and dream and wait and wait, hopefully for not too much longer. C'mon Fuji, get those cameras made! Hopefully it won't be as endless and as in vain as in Waiting For Godot.