Friday, May 30, 2014

Mouthful!!

Just a quick upload of an image I found while searching for images of fans at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival for my photobook.


I really like the light and how it caught her hair here. The added plus is the bokeh achieved by the Tokina 80-200mm f2.8 I was using.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Welcome home

On this Memorial Day here are a couple of shots that show the joy and sadness that it brings.

Sgt. Paul Mehlos returning home after a year's tour in Afghanistan in 2006.


Sgt. Timothy Padgett returning home after being killed in action in Afghanistan in 2007.


With respect to all who have served. As is said, "All gave some. Some gave all."
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Heavy pour

From last visit to our favorite Mexican restaurant. We love to sit at the bar and strike up conversations with others. Can't do that as well sitting at a booth or table....


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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

To website or not website

I am currently working on my website adding some updates that were part of the original site but I have not finished. To get some ideas/inspiration, I spent some time looking at other photographers' websites trying to determine how I wanted to lay out the new pages.
As a result of visiting other sites, I found a few photojournalists no longer have a website but are using social media to promote themselves. I mean, why pay for an web hosting service when there are so many free social sites to operate from? Everything from flickr to Twitter to Pinterest as well as facebook (and the list goes on) is available for free.
As someone who once made his living from photography but got forced out when the recession hit, I am now questioning why I should pay for a website. Since it is doubtful I will ever make any more money from editorial assignments and I am not interested in doing portraits or weddings, why pay for something that is getting very little, if any, traffic?
The only thing that has me wanting to have a website is it is a place I can post any photo essays that I produced. I still enjoy going to some local happening, shooting to document it, and developing a series of images that tell the story.
There are not many things that are more enjoyable than producing something like a photo essay about a local event, business, or other happening.
So I was wondering what other photographers' thoughts were on the matter especially ones that are in my current situation and not really looking to make a career of it. Do you have a website? Have you recently gotten rid of your website? Do you use social media? Does anyone depend solely on social media?
These are just of the few questions that are running through my head as I work on the website and, with renewal fees coming due soon, whether or not I will continue to pay for web hosting.


For those wondering, my site is very simple. I used a very old version of Adobe PageMill to create it and still use it today.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, May 22, 2014

THE "EVIL EYE"

Here is my son's oldest daughter giving me the "evil eye" as I swoop in to grab a shot at her awards ceremony.


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

Love is in the air!

When I finally decided it was time for a change in photo gear (due to my age and job situation) in 2013, I spent close to six months looking at various options. I had decided that I wanted to go a slightly different route than what I had needed to do when shooting for publication in newspapers. That meant the end of fast zoom lenses and high frames per second cameras. I decided I wanted to restrict myself to light weight bodies and fast prime lenses like the documentary shooters of the 20th Century.
But I wondered if I could do that. After using zoom lenses for so long (over 30 years), could I make the transition to rangefinder-style cameras with just a few prime lenses?
I thought about keeping one of my Nikon D2H bodies that had taken care of business since 2003. Ten years later, the pair of D2H's were just plugging along. Other than a little brassing, the cameras just kept performing. But they were definitely showing their age against the new cameras with high ISO capabilities. I started restricting my shooting to using a 35mm DX lens and a 85mm lens (128mm in full frame). I enjoyed the capabilities of these two lenses but found myself wanting something a little wider.
As I continued to research mirrorless gear, I decided on a Fuji X100S fixed lens camera. The X100S has a APS-C size sensor with a 2,0/23mm lens which equates to a 35mm in full frame.
Then I started looking through my archives to see if I ever shot at a 35mm field of view. I was pleasantly surprised as I found a number of images from trips to the United Kingdom that were very close to 35mm field of view.
This is one of those images. It was taken in Trafalgar Square in December 2004 with a Nikon D2H with a Tokina 24-200mm superzoom. The lens is not extremely good but it did a decent job here at 24mm and f4.5.







What is nice is I could have easily gotten this shot with the X100S. Now if I can just start "seeing" more often at this field of view..... 
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Family time!

My daughter-in-law and her son at his awards ceremony. Still learning the X100S. When it is the tool for the shot it has not failed to produce an image I am happy with. I just don't always see in the 35mm FOV.


What I like about this shot is they are distracted by my wife getting a shot of the two of them.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, May 17, 2014

LEAN ON ME!!

Saxophonist Everett Harp provides support for Guitarist Chuck Loeb at the 2014 Seabreeze Jazz Festival. This is definitely one that will make the "Sweet Sixteen" photobook!!


For those who want to know, this was shot with a Fuji X-E1 and a Nikkor 1,8/85mm AF-D lens at f2.0. The image was processed in Photoshop CS6 and converted to black&white using Silver Efex Pro 2 using the pinhole preset with slight lightening in the shadows.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New gallery

Posted a new gallery on my website today showing a few images from the recent Seabreeze Jazz Festival in Panama City Beach, FL. Just click on this link.


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

Sunday, May 11, 2014

No zooms!

As I prepared for this year's Seabreeze Jazz Festival, I was concerned about the images that I would capture since I only had three fixed focal lengths, a 23mm, 35mm, and 85mm (35mm, 52mm, and 128mm in full frame). The one thing I have found is that with the additional capabilities of the 16megapixel sensor of the Fuji X-System over my 4MP sensor of my Nikon D2H bodies I can crop without having any detrimental impact on the image. With the current software available I can still enlarge it to 12"X18" or more.
I have found that some of the same images I always got with zooms I still got with the fixed lenses. But the lenses also opened my photographic eye to new images that I used to miss because I was always looking to come in tight with a 80-200mm zoom or extreme wide with a 12-24mm zoom thinking that was the way to get high impact images.
The first shot is of Jonathan Fritzen with only a small crop to the image from the Fuji X100S. Besides a slight crop, the image was processed with the pinhole preset in Silver Efex Pro 2.


 But the second image is of Alex Bugnon that I might not have gotten with my Nikon equipment. Not because the Nikons could not have rendered the image (this was shot with a Nikkor 1,8/85mm AF-D lens on the Fuji X-E1) but because I might not have been receptive to the image. Not the fault of the gear but the fault of yours truly not being open to the image being there.


This image was not cropped but was put through Silver Efex Pro 2 the same as the first image.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Making the change

Really beginning to enjoy the one holdover from my Nikon days - the 1,8/85mm AF-D lens. I used it extensively at the Seabreeze Jazz Festival in April and broke it out today to cover my son's youngest daughter's school awards ceremony. As it turned out, her older sister was tasked to provide assistance at the ceremony so I got a shot of both of them. While it is a little long for a portrait lens on the X-E1's APS-C size sensor, it does allow me to catch them unawares.
First the awards girl. For quite some time she had been quite shy in front of the camera but seems to be getting used to granddad and his cameras. (I wonder if part of her losing her camera phobia has to do with the fact that I no longer carry huge Nikon D2H bodies but little Fuji X-System cameras.)


Oh, and the little white specks around her eyes are not sensor problems. She wore glitter eye makeup.
Second, her sister, the usher.


Really starting to get more of a handle with the X-E1 and focus peaking. Even though it is a little difficult to see the shimmer that occurs in brightly lit situations, I am finding I can just about nail the focus. If push comes to shove, I usually use the magnification feature to ensure I am focused.
The manual focusing is bringing down my number of shots (and I have missed a few shots) but I am paying more attention. I can see why some photojournalists who don't need 8 frames per second (like on my D2H) are transitioning to mirrorless or rangefinder cameras. With the capability to use a variety of lenses, the "character" of the lens can sometimes produce an image that the photographer wants in a particular situation.
I also carried my X100S to get some wider shots. I got this one with the X100S (that kinda reminds me of a still from a movie) as my son turned to leave as his daughter headed back to class after trying to convince him to sign her out of school early due to her multitude of awards.


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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Editing - the toughest job for any photographer

I am still going through editing images from the jazz festival last week. Editing images is one of the toughest job that any creative has. Being able to disconnect from images emotional and look at whether the image truly works (or NOT!) requires me to give up ownership and really "see" if the image works. Some I will keep "just because" but others will go into a "rejects" file for a variety of reasons - missed focus, poor exposure (under or over), etc.
But the Fuji cameras' sensors seem capable of doing more than my early generation Nikons with their JFET LBCAST sensors.
Case in point is today's image. I am not sure how my Nikon D2H bodies would have recorded this image but I seriously doubt it would have appeared to overexposed like the Fujis. Even though the image looked like the highlights were totally blown out, once I brought it into Adobe Camera Raw I was able to correct the camera's reading of the scene to one that works for me.
Here is the uncorrected image as ACR brought it into Photoshop. (I always shoot in raw. It is just a habit and fits my post processing routine.) Noticed especially the white rectangle in the upper part of the image and the brightness around Eric Darius's right shoulder. I really did not think I would be able to get any details in those areas.


Now here is the image after some adjustments in ACR and processing through Silver Efex Pro 2. The "blown" highlights show decent detail and this was a manually focused image using the focus peaking function.



This was shot with the Fuji X100S (wide open at f2.0, 1/500 second, ISO6400) and, after processing, I really like the look of the image.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!

Had lunch at my favorite local Mexican restaurant, LocoMex, in Adamson Square, Carrollton, GA.


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

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sad but true

Here is another shot from the recent jazz festival I covered. The 13 previous times I covered this event I used SLR/dSLR gear with a variety of lenses, both prime and zoom, all with a maximum aperture of at least f2.8.
This time I used mirrorless gear in a Fuji X100S and a Fuji X-E1 with the Fuji 1,4/35mm and a Nikkor 1,8/85mm. While I am pleased with the images I got, I felt something lacking on an emotional level as I have been editing the images. And I have not been able to figure out what yet.
This image is of saxophonist Vincent Ingala and keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen with the X100S. The image is at one of the most energetic points in their performance but, even so, I had trouble during the performance feeling an emotional attachment to what I was doing. Go figure.
There were some hassles with security at the festival this time and, at one point, I even considered forgetting about the festival and just having a mini vacation. I am wondering if the hassles clouded my enjoyment of the event. Or if my way of shooting has changed so much that doing these kind of events no longer appeal to me as a photographer.


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

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just starting

Just getting started with editing of the images from the Seabreeze Jazz Festival. This was the first year with the Fuji X-System gear and using only three primes (35mm (X100S), 52mm, and 128mm (Nikkor)). No extreme wide angle like the Tokina 12-24mm or telephoto like the Tokina 80-200mm that I used with my Nikon gear from the beginning in 1999.
This time I am looking at the images for what I can create from cropping since I was not able to "crop" in camera with a zoom lens.
I also shot with manual focus throughout the event and was pleasantly surprised at the number of in-focus shots I was able to get using focus peaking option. I think this will be a longer edit process than in the past but I am hopeful I got enough decent images to add to the photobook of the 16 years of the event to go to publication.
Here is a shot from the first day with the opening act of local saxophonist Michael J. Thomas. Nice sounds once he got past his nerves about performing in front of several thousand people.


Fuji X-E1 and a Nikkor 1,8/85mm at f2.0.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....