Saturday, March 29, 2014

Smokin'!!

Starting to get excited about the upcoming Seabreeze Jazz Festival. I covered the first festival in Seaside, FL, in 1999 and have missed only two. The last one I missed was 2013 when I relocated from Florida to Georgia and was unable to make it down for this smooth jazz festival. But 2014 is the "Sweet Sixteen" festival and a perfect addition to the retrospective I am working on showing images from 1999 through 2014. Some of the old crowd (both artists and fans) will be there. The festival was listed as one of the top events in April to attend in the Chicago Tribune!
This shot is from the 2012 event of Trombone Shorty blowin' on his trumpet. He reminds me of the great Louis Armstrong with his cheeks!!


I will be posting images from the past festivals for the next few weeks as I gear up (both figuratively and literally) for this year's event. Trombone Shorty will be there with Orleans Avenue, closing the first night of the four days of music.
But, for me, this year's event will be much different than in the past. In previous years, I shot the vent with SLR/dSLR gear and with lenses ranging from 18mm to 450mm in length. This year I will be shooting with a pair of Fuji mirrorless cameras - an X100S fixed lens (focal length of 35mm) and a X-E1 with a Fuji 1,4/35mm (52mm in full frame) and a Nikkor 1,8/85mm (127mm in full frame). So it will be much different than in years past. But I am looking forward to it.
When I shot another jazz festival back in 2000, another photographer was there that used Leica rangefinders. I did not see what lenses he was using but I imagine he had focal lengths close to what I will be using. And, since I will be using a Nikkor on the X-E1, I will need to use the focus peaking option of the cameras since autofocus will not work.
Additionally, I plan on also carrying (and using) an Yashica Electro35 GS rangefinder with a fixed focal length of 45mm and max aperture of 1.7 with Tri-X film. For the X100S, I have the option of using the 3-stop ND filter that is part of the firmware of that camera. For the X-E1 and GS cameras, I have 3-stop ND filters that I will add to the lenses for daytime shooting to have the capability of shooting wide open.
It should be a challenging but exciting time for me as I continue the transition from dSLR to mirrorless!
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, March 28, 2014

London Streets - One American's view

As some of you know, I have been working on a photobook of jazz images from the Seabreeze Jazz Festival that I first began covering in 1999 at the inaugural festival. I recently decided to try another photobook after receiving Peter Turnley's "French Kiss - A Love Letter to Paris".
His book inspired me to try a book of street images from my visits to London in the early 21st century. I do not anticipate selling any books (print-on-demand is too expensive) but I do like the way it turned out. I bought one just for posterity sake and will probably give this one (London Streets - One American's View) as a Christmas gift to one of my children and give a copy of the jazz photos to my other child.
This was strictly a labor of stroking my own ego. There is something about holding something tangible in one's hands rather than perusing it on a computer screen. If you want to take a look at the entire book, just follow this link and you can view it on the Blurb site.


If you do take a look, let me know what you think either positive or negative. For me, it was a thrill to see something come to completion. I have not felt that good about my photography for quite some time. Since having to leave the newspaper biz and get a "real job" to pay the bills, I have not made a dime from my photographs and that has been disappointing to say the least. Then another layoff in 2012 forcing me into retirement when I could not find other employment.
So this publication makes me feel like I have accomplished something. And.....
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, March 24, 2014

Planting day

A local vineyard was expanding and invited residents to come help with planting the new vines in exchange for lunch and a taste of local wine at the end of the day. My wife and I decided to go but my main desire was to photograph the event. With the upcoming jazz festival next month, I wanted to make sure I was handling the new equipment properly. Most of the images were shot with either the X100S or the X-E1 with a Nikkor 1,8/85mm AF-D lens. I also took the Fuji 1,4/35mm along. Both the Nikkor and Fuji lenses were fitted with a 3-stop ND filter and I also used the 3-stop ND filter that is part of the X100S firmware.
This shot (with the X-E1 and Nikkor 85mm) is of my lovely bride planting a lenior grape vine in the ground.


I did plant a couple of the new vines but spent most of my time shooting. In payment for lunch, I am building a web page and offering to send images to the people that showed up to plant.
I was surprised at how quickly I felt comfortable shooting while focusing manually. I even shifted to focusing manually with the X100S. I am not perfect yet but only had a few misses on focusing the focus peaking feature of the two cameras. Felt kinda good to be manually focusing instead of using an autofocus capability. Reminded me a little of when I first picked up an SLR in 1978.
Oh, and one guy thought I was shooting film instead of digital because of the look of the Fuji cameras.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Burson Feed & Seed



As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Simple images make my day

Sometimes I just like to hit the shutter button. The image I get on those occasions (like most of my photography these days) means little to nothing to anyone but me. And that is fine. For the first 20 years of my photography, I did things as a sideline like most people. I bought cameras and lenses to be able to shoot the things I wanted to shoot. Occasionally I would do a wedding or a senior portrait but my main shooting was family.
Then after a decade as a "professional" , the economy caught up with me and five years after leaving the newspaper biz, I am back to shooting mostly for pleasure.
And that is all this image is about. It was captured at the Carnival Cruise Lines compound on Isla Roatan, Honduras. Just a shot of people enjoying their vacation.
Sometimes a simple photo can bring enough enjoyment to keep shooting.



As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Speaker's Corner

I sometimes wonder about all the images I have stored on my external drives, CDs, etc. I sometimes consider dumping a lot of images but then I hit an image that makes me glad I have not erased files.
This is one such image. Taken in November 2004 near the Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, it is not an image I thought much of when I did my initial edit of the images from that trip. But now I look at it with renewed interest and find it fascinating.
I love how each person in the image seems to be in their own little world, each one looking in a different direction. From their proximity to each other, I almost think they are together but their different postures could indicate each one is alone.



I am not sure why I kept this image but I am glad it still is around and not dump to the digital hinterlands and overwritten with another file. This is an image that, today, keeps me looking trying to absorb all the details.
Moral: don't be too quick to hit the delete button. Let the image sit for a while (a day, week, month, or, as in this case, a decade) and you may discover something about that image that makes you glad you hit the shutter button.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring is trying to get sprung!

Went out walking while my better half was at her writers' club meeting as it was just a beautiful day. Spring is trying to get on track but Mother Nature keeps bring Old Man Winter in for a visit. After yesterday's high of 68°F (20°C), one would hope that the cold days are done. Cold temps are due to return tonight, however, as Old Man Winter is not ready to let go of the pursestrings just yet.
But, for this one day, the 11th of March, everyone got to enjoy a little taste of springtime by dining alfresco on the Square. This young lady just enjoyed sitting in the sun with her phone to keep her company.



After taking the shot, I gave her my card with the offer of sending a copy of the image to her.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, March 10, 2014

Summertime on the Square

The little town we relocated to in 2012 has a town square that has nine restaurants and is a great place to dine in the summertime. Every one of the restaurants sets up tables outside to take advantage of the expanded seating that it provides and patrons love it.
This shot shows the italian and steakhouse restaurants' seating area. Looking forward to the nicer weather and the opportunity it provides.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Multi-tasking

While the title is self-evident (rolling a cigar while talking on the phone), I feel this image fails overall. It was shot with a Fuji X-E1 and a Nikkor 85mm/1,8 lens. The lens was set around f2.8 - f4 and that is where I think I erred. A smaller aperture of f5.6-f8 would, of course, given more depth of field and shown the cigars in the background in better detail. For me, the wide open aperture just doesn't deliver what I was hoping to achieve. Just sloppy work on my part.
I really need to slow down and pay more attention as I shoot. I am slowing learning how to adapt my desires and wants to the new camera gear. It is a learning process that will last me a while.....


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sweet Sixteen!

Well, this is a shameless self plug as the initial cut of my coffeetable book is complete using Blurb. I have not published yet on Blurb because the title is not yet fulfilled. This year, 2014, marks the sixteenth year and I will be attending for a final set of images to complete this book.
There will be one big difference in covering this year's festival. I will be using different camera equipment. That fact has me both excited and anxious.
At the first festival in 1999, I used a pair of Olympus OM-4T bodies with a 80-200mm/2.8 and 28-70mm/2.6-2.8 (both Tokina Pro Series lenses) along with an 50mm/1.8 and 24mm/2.8 (both Zuiko lenses). Later I used a pair of Nikon F100 bodies with the same range of Tokina lenses in a Nikon mount. Then, from 2004 to 2012, I mainly used a pair of Nikon D2H bodies with Tokina lenses of 80-200mm/2.8, 12-24/4.0, and 300mm/2.8. (I had dropped the Tokina 28-70mm lens and replaced it with the 12-24mm.)
This year, I will be using the Fuji X-System comprised of the Fuji X100S, Fuji X-E1 with a 35mm/1.4 and a Nikkor 85mm/1.8. It will be a different experience from the years of shooting the event. Fortunately, the use of the 12-24mm lens at its 24mm setting will be a help in "seeing" with the field of view of the X100S which has a 23mm lens. And, at the 2011 and 2012 events, I used the zooms but also used Nikkor's 35mm/1.8 and 85mm/1.8 lenses which will be a help.
So far the book is comprised of almost 200 images that include both the artists and fans. I am hoping for another fun event to finish what I started in another lifetime.


I am also looking for a publisher so, if anyone has any favorites that they think might be interested, please drop me a private message at richard-owen01@comcast.net.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Still alive!

I have been a little remiss in posting but I do have an excuse. I have been busy working on two books that I am considering doing as print-on-demand (such as blurb.com) or presenting to a publisher to see if there is any interest.

But I needed a break as my eyes are beginning to cross looking at the computer screen 10-12 hours a day trying to figure out image size, page layouts, etc., so I thought I would post something on the blog.
This is from our excursion to Apalachicola last year in which I was (and still am) learning the possibilities with the new Fuji cameras I picked up last year. Just a shot of a local having dinner at a locals' bar in town. Upstairs there is a restaurant that mostly attracts tourists but the bar downstairs is the place to be. There is a vibe in this place that one can't feel in a lot of the dining establishments that are trying to attract the visitor to the area. We always try to find a locals place and mingle/meet with the locals. It is really the only way to get the personality of a place.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....