Recent Posts
1 week, 1 day ago 19

 


 

I would like to end the week with some important news for all the Fuji fans out there!
FIRST:   I’m honored to announce that a few weeks ago it was made official that Jack Graham and I were named X-Photographers by Fujifilm Japan & USA. The designation of X-Photographer is a recognition of some of the the exceptional photographers that use the Fuji X-System worldwide. (their words, not mine)  Over 200 photographers have been invited to join, Jack and I are two of the 18 photographers from the United States, so designated.  Both Jack and I consider it a real honor to be included into this fraternity of wonderful photographers an artists.  You can see our portfolios at the links below:

 

Jack Graham      http://fujifilm-x.com/photographers/en/jack_graham/#07

 

Bill Fortney         http://fujifilm-x.com/photographers/en/bill_fortney/#01

 

One of the great things about being apart of the Fuji X-Photographers family is Fuji agrees that we are still independent thinkers free to express our opinions on products and we are not “official” spokesman for Fujifilm, just very happy users of the great gear they make.  Neither Jack or I would have agreed to be a part of any restrictive arrangement that did not allow us to remain unbiased and honest about our evaluaitons.  We know that you trust us, and we would not risk that by being paid spokesman for any company.  Having said that, I believe it is obvious that we are very satisfied with our Fuji systems!

 

 

SECOND:  The first test of a new Fuji product coming Monday!  If you read Fuji Rumors, (and I do everyday!),  you have no doubt been reading speculation about upcoming Fuji product releases.  You must remember that Fuji Rumors is a Rumor sight, so they can leak things they hear under the protection of it being a “rumor”.   I have been aware of some of the products since my trip to the Fuji National Sales Meeting in Phoenix, but have been under a non-disclosure agreement and could not be specific about anything I saw or tested, and I did both!!!.  ”If” the new releases happens on Monday as “rumored”  I will be releasing a first test of a new product from Fuji.  I’ve had “said” lens in my possession for a couple of weeks and have been testing it and preparing a review slated for the day it is “officially” announced.  Assuming everything goes according to plan, I will release that review in Monday’s blog.  Get excited, it is a marvelous product.

 

 

THIRD:  Jack Graham and I have a new wesbsite for Fuji users called Fuji X Photo Workshops  and this is the link:  http://fujixphotoworkshops.com/    at  our new website you will find a listing of new workshops Jack and i are teaching aimed directly at Fuji X-shooters who want get the most out of their X-System cameras and lenses.  We will feature articles on Fuji gear, Fuji News, and other informative stories.  Please book mark us for your Fuji info and workshop locations.  Our workshop in Mount Rainier this summer is already SOLD OUT, check next year’s events in Olympic National Park (May 2016) , The Great Smokies N.P. (April 2016), and Acadia N.P. (October 2016)  Please come by and check us out!!!!

 

 

FOURTH:  The joy of working with Fuji.  I had a great time attending and speaking at the Fuji National Sales Meeting.  I met a lot of great Fuji professionals and made a number of new friends.  I was really appreciative of how they listened to my ideas, and requests and seemed genuinely interested in what we, (the users), wanted and thought.  I think one of the reasons I’ve had such and easy transition to being a Fuji X System shooter is their philosophy and corporate culture. I know after my meeting with top executives that they are committed to building the best possible cameras and lenses and the firmware upgrades prove they hear us and are making significant changes to the products.  The upcoming Firmware 4.0 for the X-T1 is going to make very major improvements in it’s auto focus system, I’m excited!!!

 

 

So tune in Monday for an  exciting review, and ha e a great weekend!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

1 week, 2 days ago 8

 

 

 

Can you not see the forest  for the trees?  It’s and old saying that holds much truth.  We often are so focused on the details of life that we fail to see the big picture.  I had an experience yesterday that helped me refocus on the forest, the big picture.  I had four phone conversation all unrelated except in one way, they were all God directed.   It does matter who the conversations were with, but since they were private, I will not reveal that information, but in each call God revealed himself in a unique way.  One was with a friend that needed encouragement, one with a friend that was struggling though a tough patch of life, another with a friend that was filled with joy and insight into spiritual things, and one with a friend that appreciated my concern for him and his wife.  All of them directed my focus back to God.

 

God offers us provision, grace, acceptance, love, meaning for our lives, and most of all, forgiveness!  If we give Him our lives, if we let go and trust Him, He will provide our every need, and will allow nothing to ever happen to us that is not for our good.  Even the bad circumstances of life that drive us closer to Him are for our benefit!

 

God moved me to make those four calls, and I benefited greatly, and He saw to it that the four people I talked to benefited as well!  That is God’s way, the perfect way, the complete way.

 

If you focus on Him you will see both the trees and the forest.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

1 week, 3 days ago 26

 

 

 

DEPRESSSING:

 

A recent Pew poll reveals that Christianity is on the decline.  78.4% of Americans considered themselves Christians in 2007, it’s down to 70.6% in 2014.  Members of the Jewish faith grew from 1.7% to 1.9% and Muslims in America increased from 0.4% to 0.9%.  The biggest swing was that now, the unaffiliated category (atheists, agnostics, and uninterested) has grown by 50% from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014.  So what can we do to reverse this trend?

 

I think our only solution is to take a clue from Jesus.  He came to earth as a man, He loved people with a love like they had never known, an unconditional love.  He forgave others, He met their needs, He genuinely cared about them.  Nothing will affect the hearts of man, more than showing them the kind of love Jesus showed.  It is our only hope!

 

 

DISGRACEFUL:

 

Every year the French have a 4 day  celebration in Normandy complete with American uniforms, tanks, jeeps and  guns. They still honor the Americans who died there….
 
June 6, 2015, the 71st anniversary of “D-Day”, the largest invasion ever attempted, where 200,000 Americans stormed the beaches at Normandy to begin the final push to defeat Nazi Germany in WWII.D-Day marked the turning point in WWII in Europe… Today, European heads of state make it a point to recall and honor the sacrifices  of those who landed in Normandy, as do our Presidents…. well, most of  them….

In the 69 years since D-Day, there are four occasions when the President of the United States chose not to visit the D-Day Monument that honors the soldiers killed during the Invasion.

The occasions were:

1. Barack Obama, 2010
2. Barack Obama, 2011
3. Barack Obama, 2012
4. Barack Obama, 2013

For the past 69 years, every American President except Obama have taken the time to honor the memory and sacrifices of the 6,000 American soldiers killed on D-Day. …Except Obama!June 6 2010, Obama had no events scheduled.

June 6, 2011, Obama met with the National Security team and was interviewed by WEWS Cleveland and WDIV in Detroit  about the auto industry – FAR too busy to visit the D-Day memorial.

June 6, 2012, instead of honoring our fallen soldiers, Obama made a campaign trip to California on Air Force 1 (at our expense) to raise funds for (his) upcoming election.

June 6, 2013, Obama was doing ANOTHER fund raiser with the multimillionaires in the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Palo Alto, CA, once again at our expense.

America – Aren’t you proud?

Four times in 69 years!!  Disgraceful………

 

 

MADDENING:

 

The book Clinton Cash has caused a fire storm of reaction among many Americans, yet the main stream media, (NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNB and the rest),  have not reported hardly anything about this out and out scandal.   Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill have collected billions of dollars for charitable causes, but less than 10% has gone to any worth causes.  While Bill and Hillary live lavish life styles and have cut deals with many foreign governments, using their influence to repay the donor nations.  Much of their activities would land you or I in prison, they dance merrily along!  What a shame that we can no longer trust the media to find out the truth, and report it!!!!!!  Oh, and Hillary has just said we are going to have to get over our  ”religious and cultural beliefs” so she can push forward her left leaning agenda!?^%$@!$#^!&*     Not on my watch!

 

 

DISDAINFUL:

 

It was revealed yesterday that the NFL teams have been charging the military for the display of patriotism at the beginning of games to the tune of millions!  On the same day the commissioner came down hard on Tom Brady for “maybe” being involved in reducing the air level in balls by 2 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!  GIVE ME A BREAK!  When are we going g to start acting like adults!  Can we possibly get our priorities straight!  Why don’t we fine those team owners that charged the U.S. Military for showing patriotism!!!  Talk about damage to the shield………

 

 

ENCOURAGING:

 

At the same time policeman are being disrespected and gunned down in the streets, officer Michael Keane risked his life to help save numerous people from the tragic Amtrak train crash near Philadelphia this morning.   I for one would like to thank the police, the sheriff’s departments, the state troopers, the firemen, the first responders, and the member of our military for all they sacrifice for us!!  I’m sorry for the actions of my fellow citizens, but I’ve got your back!  God bless you and God Bless America, even if she is turning away from you, a price will be paid for our national state.  Please pray for America.

 

We have much work to do.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

1 week, 5 days ago 13

 

 

OK, I admit it, I love lenses, what’s not to love!!!  In the process of trying to capture those glorious moments of interesting subjects and great light, they are what focuses the image onto the sensor!  No single factor has more of an affect on the final image than the lens!  A lens has to do a lot of important things: sharply render the details, keep the color correct, maintain contrast, prevent contrast robbing flare, faithfully capture the intricate variations of color, and much more!!!!

 

Here are a few of my most frequently asked questions about lenses:

 

 

1.  Are single focal length lenses better than zooms?

 

First you need to define BETTER!  Example, if you are standing on the sidelines of a soccer game and your 60mm lens does not reach out far enough to fill the frame with a single player you want to capture, a 70-200 is better!  Is there a difference in image quality?  Yes, but usually only a very small amount!  In the Fuji system the 16 f 1.4 is sharper at 16mm than the 16-55 f 2.8 at 16mm, but only by a small margin.  Zoom lenses are more complex and thus harder to correct to the ” inth” degree, but today, with ED and Aspheric glass elements they’re coming extremely close to the quality of primes!  Primes still win by a nose!

 

2.  If the difference is small between zooms and primes, why bother with primes?

 

Primes advantages are usually, larger maximum apertures ( often f 1.2, 1.4, or f 2) vs f 2.8 or slower on zooms.  Primes are usually smaller and more compact.  Primes also require the photographer to change physical distance and position, which increases your photographic abilities, and often results in unique images!  Primes also keep the X-System small and managable!

 

 

3.  So which should I buy?

 

I would say a few of each!  If you do mostly street, portrait, fashion, and fine art work, I might lean to primes.  If you are a nature, landscape, wildlife, or sports shooter, zooms are hard to beat!  So, if you do some of all the above, a combination will serve you well.

 

4. The obvious question is which ones!?

 

This a lot tougher question, because as John Shaw used to say to all questions, “It all depends!”  For example, a nature landscape shooter might find that a wide angle zoom (for me the 10-24), a mid-range zoom, (16-55), and a telephoto zoom ( either the 55-200 or the 50-140) and some way to do close-ups ( for me the 60mm Micro, Diopters and auto extension tubes).  If you also like to photograph people both portrait and environmental portraits, a fast 23mm and 56mm might fill the bill!

 

Travel shooters can do a lot of great work with just the 14mm f2.8 and the 18-135, giving a range of focal lengths of from 21mm to 200mm in just two lenses!

 

A photojournalist who works in very low light might do great with a 16mm, 23mm, 35mm and 56mm all at 1.2 speed, the 56mm at 1.2 speed!   They will be prepared for almost everything, except sports!

 

 

5.  What is your solution to which ones to own and carry?

 

I have broken my lenses into two categories and they are bagged separately.  In one bag I have  my speed lenses.  Primes with fast maximum apertures, below;

 

Left to Right; 14mm f 2.8, 16mm f 1.4,  23mm f 1.4. 35mm f 1.4, and the 56mm f 1.2, I will add the 90mm f 2 to this bag when it becomes available.

 

 

Zooms:

In a small Think Tank Airport Essentials Backpack I have three bodies 2 X-T1s and an X-E2 plus the zooms below;

 

Left to Right; 60mm Micro and two MCEX 16mm auto extension tubes and one MCEX 11mm tube, Samyang 8mm fisheye lens f 2.8, 10-24 f 4, and 16-55 f 2.8,ND 50-140 F 2.8.  Not shown because it was being used to make this image, the 18-135 f 3.5-5.6  zoom.  I additionally own the 55-200 f 3.5-4.8 zoom and the 18-55 f 2.8-4 zoom.

 

Since I travel by car, as much as possible, I can have both bags handy for the kind of work I’m doing at the moment.  When I travel by air I generally take the zoom kit in a rolling bag, the Think Tank Airport Security 2.0 along with my laptop and accessories.

 

I am really looking forward to the promised 1.4 converter and the 120 mm Micro f 2.8 OIS WR, hopefully coming next year!

 

 

6. What about long glass?

 

There are several things on that.  First, Fuji does not “currently” have any rally long lenses.  They are showing a 100-400 f 4.5-5.6 on the Lens Road Map for next year, that would be a 150mm to 600 mm at pretty reasonable speed for most of us, and if it autofocuses quickly it may be all some of us will ever need!!!  Fast 300mm, 400mm. 500mm. 600mm like Canon and Nikon?  Nope, not yet, but I’m sure they are working on it.  For now if you do not need autofocus for your long glass shots, you can use older legacy glass from all the major manufacturers with adapters.  I use the Nikon 300mm f 4.5 IF-ED (45omm equiv.) and the 400 f 3.5 IF-ED (600mm equiv.) with great success!

 

This image in the Palouse Region of Washington State was made with the Nikon 300mm with an adapter.

 

 

Having said all this, please remember Rod Planck’s famous quote, “Technique beats equipment, everytime!!!”

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim