Black and White

"Desk Items" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/2.2, 1/160 sec, ISO1000
“Desk Items” Cedar Park, 2018

I’m enjoying making more black and white photos these days. And seeing the world through a viewfinder devoid of color is fascinating and fun. It’s like peeking into a hidden dimension.

"Lampshade" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/2, 1/180 sec, ISO800
“Lampshade” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a nice Friday!

またね~

Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 on Fujifilm X-T10

"Anko" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 135mm, f/1, 1/60 sec, ISO500
“Anko” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I received a lens adapter in the mail so that I can mount my beloved Minolta MD 50mm f/1.4 lens to my Fujifilm X-T10. The Fotasy Minolta MD to Fujifilm X-Mount Adapter was only about $16 and fits perfectly. The mounted lens is snug and secure, with no play at all.

The 50mm lens is what I used a lot my Minolta X-700, and more recently with my Sony A77 via an adapter, so I thought it would be cool to put it on the Fujifilm. I am happy to report that the quality of the photos that the lens produces with the Fujifilm is much better than the ones produced with the Sony. The edges are sharper and there’s less chromatic aberration. I’m not sure why the Sony images weren’t as good, since the adapter simply acts as a spacer between the lens and sensor. I can only guess that the adapter I used with the Sony was a tiny bit too long or short.

"Son" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 135mm, f/1, 1/120 sec, ISO400
“Son” Cedar Park, 2018

At any rate, the 50mm lens produces some lovely bokeh at the wider end, and when stopped down to f/3.6 the sharpness increases quite a bit. Using a manual-focus lens on a mirrorless body is easy because of the focus peaking feature, which overlays color outlines over the parts of the image that are in focus. I love it!

"Sketchy Model" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 50mm, f/1, 1/30 sec, ISO800
“Sketchy Model” Cedar Park, 2018

Now I have another option that I can use with my single body/lens philosophy, which seems to be working out nicely. Just yesterday I used the X-T10 and 35mm lens combination at the Fourth of July party, and I am really happy with the images! And I don’t mind “zooming with my feet” with the prime lens. It’s actually kind of fun!

I hope you had a nice day!

またね~

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Camera Dynamics

"Siblings" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: OLYMPUS E-PL9, 35mm, f/5.5, 1/125 sec, ISO6400
“Siblings” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

So recently I sent my Sony A77 DSLR + 16-50mm lens to my niece in California. She’s going to do some photography for her school next year and wanted to use a more serious camera. Since I rarely use my DSLR, I was happy to let her use it indefinitely.

So now the camera collection has been pared down some and it has simplified my photographic choices a tiny bit. Honestly, I only used the A77 for video and when I needed an ultra-wide angle shot that only the Sigma 10-20mm could handle. But I can now take care of the video with other cameras and how often did I really use the UWA lens?

Currently, my digital camera kit comes down to 3 bodies: the Fujifilm X100T, the Fujifilm X-T10, and the Sony NEX-6. Here’s how I use each:

Fujifilm X100T – The camera I use 90% of the time, and the one that is almost always with me (unless I have X-T10 that day). I love the 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) frame of view and the near-silent leaf-shutter.

Also, I find the limitation of the non-interchangeable, fixed-focal-length lens to be liberating. No need to think about what lens to use. Just compose with the 23mm and shoot. No second-guessing, no indecision, and no regrets! It’s a great feeling.

Plus, the camera is so sexy!

Fujifilm X-T10 – I’m starting to enjoy using this camera as a backup to the X100T. It’s got the same sensor, image quality, and the size is also similar to the X100T, so it’s familiar and easy. I mainly use the X-T10 for company events and presentations, where the excellent 18-55mm zoom’s versatility shines – I can get in close, without having to get right in front of the presenter.

I also have the excellent 35mm (48mm equivalent) f/2 lens which makes beautiful images – sharp in-focus, and nicely blurred out-of-focus. Plus, the focusing is lightning-fast, silent, and the lens is physically small.

Sony NEX-6 – This camera stays in the glove compartment of my car, where I use it for quick snapshots of clouds or other interesting things on the road. It powers on quickly with just one hand. The wide-angle (24mm equivalent) of the 16-50mm kit lens is perfect for shooting without composing – I just point in the general direction and shoot away. Here’s an example of a shot from the car, although this one was taken by Koa who was riding shotgun.

I have a way of thinking about how I use my cameras, which might seem strange, but I’ve found it is shared by many other photographers – I prefer a minimalistic setup since it cuts out a layer of decision-making which bothers me. Logically, it would seem that having the flexibility of zooming or changing lenses would contribute to a better photographic experience (you won’t “miss the shot”), but that’s not the case for me. When I have too many choices, I always second-guess myself and that feeling is unsettling.

On the other hand, when there is only one choice of focal length, I see the situation more quickly and that simplicity makes photography much more enjoyable and less stressful. I believe a lot of X100-series photographers experience this same feeling.

With that in mind, when I do take the X-T10 with me, I’ll put on the 35mm prime lens and that is my setup. I don’t take any other camera, nor lenses. I’ve made the choice already before I step out the door, and there’s no going back, so to speak. By setting limits, I can enjoy the simple photography experience even with an interchangeable lens camera.

I mentioned that I also have the 18-55mm zoom lens, which is fantastic and takes great images. But the problem with that (at least for me) is that not only is it too big, but I dislike having to make the decision of what focal length to choose. No, I don’t see the convenience of a zoom as a plus for my personal photography. It takes away much of the joy of snapping photos.

So I’ve decided the 18-55mm lens is only for work, where the images are strictly for documentary purposes. I’m taking those photos simply for the company’s success, not for any kind of artistic expression.

With all that being said, I’ll be taking the X-T10 with 35mm lens out tomorrow night when we visit a friends’ house for a barbecue. I hope to get some nice images!

またね~

Too Much Photography?

"On the Desk" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO6400
“On the Desk” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Warning, this post is a bit of a rant… but here goes.

There’s a school of thought that says the surest way to lose passion in a hobby is to turn it into your job. There’s some truth to that sentiment, and I experienced it today. If you follow my blog or know me in person, you know that I love photography. However, I don’t like to take photos for my work and for a few years now, I’ve kind of handed that job off to others as much as possible. I don’t mind the occasional photoshoot when we’re in a bind, but I’d rather leave it to the professionals, or others who have interest in it.

So it was with serious reservation (and after kindly refusing once) that I agreed to do some headshots. Well, that seems to have turned into taking photos for several more small events. Ugh… Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos, but the time spent culling and post-processing can be long, especially because I want to spend the proper amount of time to do a good job. (plus the common perception from non-photographers is that you just snap the photo and upload it)

This morning I took photos for a company event, and it was time-consuming. It was a one-hour event, and I ended up with 440 shots to go thru. After four passes of culling, I got it down to 19 images. From there, it was on to post-processing. And there goes 2+ hours of the day.

I enjoy processing photos in Lightroom, but not for work. I want to enjoy it purely for fun and relaxation at home, with photos I have interest in.

This afternoon I was supposed to take photos for another event, but after spending all that time in Lightroom, I was kind of burnt out, plus the event was outdoors and the lighting was contrasty and harsh. So I really wasn’t in the groove. I still got a few shots, but it was difficult and I deleted most of the photos because they weren’t good. 😫 Also, each click of the shutter adds a few minutes to the workday. It sucks to think that way, but that’s reality. Hey, time is money, and I’m not getting paid by the hour. 😆

Also, photography is its own totally different discipline so it’s hard to shift attention in the middle of other tasks. I don’t think people realize that. I mean, I know people realize that task-switching is inefficient, but they don’t realize that photography is a separate way of thinking from print design, ad design, etc. It’s all the same, isn’t it? (no)

Anyway, I usually carry my camera with me when I go out, but this evening, I didn’t even want to pick it up. 😓 That was kind of depressing. I like to keep my work and my home life separate, but these photo duties at work steal the enjoyment out of something I really like doing for fun on my own time.

So, today’s daily photo is just a simple still-life of some of my favorite things: watches, pens/pencils, and a coaster from a bar in Japan. Oh, and my passport since I need it for a visa application for a China trip.

I don’t know… maybe I’m just a bit burnt out because it was two photo shoots in one day? Or maybe it’s because I am kind of swamped with work and the photography is a significant time-sink? I’m hoping it’s one of those because I enjoy my work and I’d hate for photography to ruin the good thing I have going. Or maybe the solution is to not spend what I think is the proper amount of time on work-related photos, and just do a half-assed job? (I don’t know if I could do that, actually)

Sorry for today’s rant. I rarely vent, so today is an anomaly… I promise!

I’ll see you tomorrow.

またね~

Digital and Film

"Digital and Film" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/6.4, 1/6 sec, ISO3200
“Digital and Film” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。

Today’s photo is of my favorite digital camera and my favorite film camera. I’ve seen quite a few videos about shooting film, and there’s a general revival of film photography happening. It’s pretty cool! I guess all the younger photographers who grew up with digital are discovering film. I think it’s great.

I love my old film cameras and had so much fun shooting with them. Because I learned photography by shooting film, they hold a special place for me, and each of my film cameras has certain sentimental value. Actually, that’s not true. I have a few that I acquired later on that I don’t have any real attachment too, and I should probably donate those. But my Minolta X-700, α507si, Nikon F, Holga 120, and Olympus XA are keepers!

That said, I don’t see myself shooting film in the future. I just think the advantages of digital are so great that the charm of film cannot overcome them. The combination of digital and Lightroom allows me to create the photographic style I like, plus the speed of processing that I require to post to my blog every day requires a digital camera. As much as I enjoyed shooting film, it’s simply a hassle to develop the film.

I guess for me it’s also a case of “been there, done that”. But for the younger photo-enthusiasts, it’s a whole new world to explore, and that is wonderful. I get excited thinking that they might be experiencing that same magic of discovery that I experienced when I learned how to develop film and make prints in the dark room. It was a great time. I honestly feel that film is something you have to try out at some point as a photographer because it is an important part of photography that still exists and it’ll be an itch that you’ll have to scratch, or it will stay at the back of your mind and drive you crazy.

Anyways, I will hold on to my precious film cameras and maybe someday my sons or even grandkids might want to use them to shoot some film. 😀

I hope you had a nice Friday!

またね~

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Taking Photos and Staying in the Moment

"Used Camera" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/3.2, 1/30 sec, ISO3200
“Used Camera” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I was thinking about a topic I heard discussed on photography podcasts. It’s basically the question of during special life moments, such as your child’s dance recital or school play, if you should stay behind your camera taking photos, or if you should put down the camera and simply take in the experience with nothing in your way of your senses. It can be difficult because as photo enthusiasts – we love taking photos and want to get that perfect shot.

There are valid arguments to be made for both sides of the debate. On one hand, it’s nice to have photos/video to relive and share the moment, but on the other hand, you aren’t fully in the moment and experiencing life if you are looking through the viewfinder or at the rear screen of your camera. The question is, does the camera enhance your life, or does it get in the way of it?

My opinion is that I think that a happy medium can easily be achieved and you can have the best of both worlds! The keys that I have found work for me are:

  • Know your camera inside and out – You don’t want to waste time fumbling with settings. And set up your camera before the event starts. It’s no fun trying to tweak settings in the dark!
  • Think like an event photographer – Have a shot list in mind. Maybe not a written list, but think of the “must have shots” that you need to capture. Once you take care of those, then put down the camera and enjoy the moment. Keep in mind that for most events, the photos you take at the beginning of the performance will look the same as any other part, so no need to have the camera at your eye the whole time. Just be ready for the recognition and bowing at the end of performances. Again, take the photo, then put the camera down and join in the applause!
  • Automate it – If you want to take video, bring a tripod and set it up beforehand. Then just hit the record, turn off the LCD if possible, and forget about it.

Anyways, those are my tips that I’ve gathered from shooting both student events and corporate events. I hope this helps you “stay in the moment”!

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Today’s photos are of my beloved camera (yet again!). 😄 I have a couple trips coming up, and I am taking my Fujifilm X100T with me as my main camera (with my phone being a backup). There was a time in my life when I would spend a lot of time thinking about what camera gear to bring on vacations, but ever since I bought my X100T, it’s the only camera I want or need. Just the thought of lugging around a heavy DSLR and a few lenses makes me shudder… when I used to carry all the gear it was not fun and definitely made “staying in the moment” more difficult.

You know, a life with less can be a good thing, especially in photography!

"Fujifilm X100T" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/3.2, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Fujifilm X100T” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a great day!

おやすみ

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Flickr

Barton Springs, Austin TX

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Yesterday Smugmug announced that it was buying Flickr. I’ve been using Flickr for over 13 years and have loved it this whole time, mostly as a paying “Pro” user. The photo above was my first upload to Flickr, back in 2005. I took the photo with a Holga camera using 120 film.

Through all the years, and many cameras, I’ve often wondered why people have been so damning of Flickr. Sure, it hasn’t been the most cutting-edge service, and the mobile experience is not very compelling, but for a desktop/laptop user it’s been a consistently solid place to share photos and have discussions in different groups. I’m hoping that never changes.

Anyways, I wanted to mention how fun it is when a photo gets chosen to be on Flickr’s Explore page. When that happens (and it’s a mystery how a photo gets chosen) your email inbox suddenly starts getting a ton of notifications and you can watch the number of photo-views skyrocket. It’s lots of fun!

Just yesterday, the sunset photo that Koa took got “Explored” and the views and favorites took off. I thought it was a nice coincidence that it happened on the day Flickr was bought by Smugmug. 😀

Daily Photo – 2018.04.18

As an amateur photographer, I love Instagram on my phone, but I’ll probably always be a Flickr user. 😄

I hope you have a nice Saturday!

またね~