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1 week ago 17

 

If you travel to the national parks,  wildlife refuges, or just the most scenic regions of America to make photographs you need to subscribe to Photograph America Newsletter.  Bob Hitchman has produced the greatest scouting tool in the industry!  The best $140. you can spend if you want to know all the most important info about the best shooting locations is the complete set of pdfs (131) reports!!  Just look at all the areas covered in this set!!  ….and a 1 year subscription to new locations!

 
1: Death Valley, Nevada
2: Autumn in New England, Vermont/NH
3: Winter in Wyoming
4: The Hana Coast of Maui, Hawaii
5: California Deserts in Spring
6: The Oregon Coast
7: Hidden Desert Canyons, Utah
8: Colorful Colorado
9: Olympic Rain Forests, Washington
10: Into The Everglades, Florida
11: Kauai—The Na Pali Coast, Hawaii
12: Zion and Bryce National Parks, Utah
13: Acadia and Coast of Maine
14: Point Lobos and Big Sur, California
15: 50 Great Photo Trips
16: Wildflowers of the Arizona Desert
17: North of the Golden Gate, California
18: Arches National Park, Utah
19: East of the Sierra, California
20: Glacier National Park, Montana
21: Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida
22: Hawaii—The Big Island
23: Yosemite Valley, California
24: Great Smoky Mtns National Park, TN/NC
25: Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico
26: The Coast of Nova Scotia
27: Monument Valley, Arizona
28: Winter in Yellowstone, Wyoming
29: Waterfalls of Oregon
30: The Canadian Rockies
31: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
32: Cliff Dwellings of Southwest, Colorado
33: Into The Okefenokee, Georgia
34: The Pacific Flyway, California
35: Canyonlands National Park, Utah
36: Back Roads of Kentucky
37: Outer Banks of North Carolina
38: Driving the Alaska Highway
39: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
40: Big Bend National Park, Texas
41: Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Is.
42: More Hidden Desert Canyons, UT/AZ
43: Upper Michigan Peninsula
44: A California Portfolio
45: Valley of Fire, Nevada
46: Wildflowers Texas Hill Country
47: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
48: Great Basin National Park, Nevada
49: Bosque del Apache, New Mexico
50: 36 Exposures of North America
51: Louisiana Wildlife Refuges
52: Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah
53: Autumn in New Hampshire
54: The Palouse, Washington
55: South Carolina Low Country
56: Wildlife of South Florida
57: California Back Roads
58: Nevada Back Roads
59: Badlands/Black Hills, South Dakota
60: Mount St. Helens, Washington
61: 25 More Great Photo Locations
62: The Bisti Wilderness, New Mexico
63: Back Roads of The Ozarks, Arkansas
64: Up The Hudson River, New York
65: Bears on Fish Creek, Alaska
66: Golden Gate’s Coastal Trail, California
67: Sedona, Arizona
68: The Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
69: Deserts of Eastern Oregon
70: The Beartooth Highway, WY/MT
71: The Wave in Coyote Buttes, Arizona
72: Utah Desert Trails
73: Photographing Georgia
74: Idaho’s Sawtooth Range
75: The Tetons, Wyomings
76: The Blue Ridge Parkway, VA/NC
77: Two Weeks in the Desert, Utah
78: Florida Wildlife Refuges
79: Back to Islands—Kauai/Molokai, Hawaii
80: Oregon Back Roads
81: The High Sierra, California
82: Anza-Borrego Desert Landscapes, California
83: Nevada Ghost Towns
84: Along the Mississippi
85: The South Coyote Buttes, Arizona
86: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
87: Point Reyes in Winter, California
88: Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
89: Antelope Valley Wildflowers, California
90: West Virginia Back Roads
91: Southern Vermont
92: SF Bay Wildlife Refuges, California
93: Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Arizona
94: Dinosaur Natl Mon/Fantasy Cyn, Utah
95: Redwood National Park, California
96: Islands Off Maine
97: Pennsylvania Autumn Color
98: Joshua Tree National Park, California
99: Desert Photography
100: Oregon Lighthouses
101: Orcas of Vancouver Island
102: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula
103: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
104: Back to Death Valley, California
105: Arizona’s White Pocket
106: California Wine Country
107: North Cascades National Park, Washington
108: Wyoming Bighorn in Winter
109: San Francisco in the Rain, California
110: Photographing Cape Cod, Massachusetts
111: Photographing San Juan Islands, Washington
112: Fingerlakes of New York
113: Secrets of the Nevada Desert
114: The Florida Keys
115: Sequoia NP and Kings Canyon NP, California
116: Lighthouses on the Coast of Maine
117: California’s Central    Coast
118: Waterfalls at Rickett’s Glen, Pennsylvania
119: Montana’s Hi-Line Country
120: North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona
121: California’s Southern Coast
122: Florida’s Panhandle Coast
123: Lake Tahoe
124: The Gardens of Portland, Oregon
125: Autumn Color in Connecticut
126: The Color of Spring around Phoenix
127: Photographing Indiana
128: California’s Warner Range in Autumn
129: Return to Valley of Fire, Nevada
130: The Hoh Rain Forest, Washington
131: Prince Edward Island, Canada

I would never have been able to travel and shoot with the success Ive had without Bob’s expert scouting!  Here is the link to his website, check it out!

http://www.photographamerica.com

 

Thanks Bob for all the great help as Ive traveled from coast to coast and benefited greatly from your expertise!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

1 week, 2 days ago 9

 

I got the question below and here is my response for all of us!

 

Dennis Mook says:

 

Bill, thanks for your hard work and shared wisdom. I know your Fujifilm cameras can’t be absolutely perfect, or maybe they are? Have you thought of writing a blog post of what you would like Fujifilm to include, change or do a bit differently in their next version of the X-T1 and why? I know I would think your insight would make an interesting read, and I bet others would also find it interesting.

Again, thank you for your thoughts and recommendations. Us young guys in our early 60s look up to our elders for wisdom! LOL :-)

 

Dennis

 

 

Dear Fuji,

Let me thank you so very, very much for building the camera and lens system I’ve always wanted, but no one made until you guys got busy and did it!!!  It is so close to perfect for me (I did say “me”), I hate to  mention it but I do have a few suggestions and requests, just in case!

 

Suggestions:

 

1.  Fix the limited ability to bracket, hey guys it’s just a firmware fix, if  you want to prove you are seriously after the pro market make it at least 7 stops, want to wow us?  Make it nine stops of at least 1 stop apart!

 

2.  Fix the control pads on the XT-1,  you did it perfect in the X-Pro 1, it worked perfectly, let’s just do it again!

 

3.  Solve the battery issue!  The number of shots you can get from a battery in all the cameras leading up to the X100T, is very low.  The only saving grace has been that excellent replacement batteries are available, on line,  for a song!  But carrying a dozen batteries is crazy.  Surely the same brilliant engineers that designed this killer camera system can work this out?!  Please work on it, I know you can do it!

 

4.  Make a set of Automatic Extension Tubes, even though a pretty good option exists with the Fotodiox Pro set (Amazon.com), but I would love a smooth factory speck set.

 

5.   I was going to suggest a top shutter speed of 1/8,0ooth of a second but yesterdays firmware announcement will give us even more than that, so thanks!

 

6.  Let’s fix the whole lens hood thing!  Everyone, Nikon, Canon, everyone, now supplies lenses with bayonet hoods, the ones from some other manufacturers. (no names, no need to get ugly!) are cheap, break easily and they all have the same problem, you can’t rotate a polarizer without removing them and putting them back on, a real pain the backside!  Now Fuji, at least you guys supply very nice, mostly metal hoods, but they still are the bayonet variety.  I place them on the shelf and save them, but I go to Amazon and buy perfectly nice, metal screw in hoods that fit, and don’t vignette, I sure would prefer to get those kinds of hoods with the lenses in the first place.  I know that almost all photo industry players have all their minor accessories out sourced, usually to China, that where these hoods come from that I buy and they are cheap, far cheaper than replacing as manufactures “branded” hood.   Here is my offer, make me the guy that arranges for your hoods, I will get them made off shore, Fuji branded,  and guarantee a quality you will love, you can pay me 1% of what you make on the sale of hoods, or what you pay for them??!!

 

7.  In the XT-2 give it two SD card slots, PLEASE…..

 

8.  Make the Q menus customizable.  Ooops just announced in future firmware, Never mind!!!!

 

 

REQUESTS:

 

1.  Please make the 120-400 a constant f4 aperture!!!!!

 

2.  We really need a 100mm Macro f 2.8 lens that goes to 1:1.

 

3.  Please don’t fall to the temptation to build a full frame system, you are knocking out of the park with the APS-C sensor and that way you can continue to flesh out what you have already done so spectacularly!

 

Fuji, let me say thank you……..  I’ve spent my entire life with a camera in my hand, it has been the transport that has taken me to the most incredible places, to see the most wonderful things, and meet the most interesting people.  It has filled my life with wonder and joy, and when I thought I might not be able to continue m,y fantastic journey because of the weight and size of the current  systems, you guys saved me with the most incredible, and fun system Ive ever used.  Saying thank you is not nearly enough, so I’ll just use what you’ve created to capture all the magic I can, and continue on this breathtaking journey.  Seriously, thank you.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

Oh, and the elder part, if the shoe fits wear it!

1 week, 3 days ago 10

The subtle beauty of Kodachrome film.

 

With apologies to the late, great Lewis Grizzard, (humorist and columnist for the Atlanta Journal & Constitution and my brother in arms, born in the same year I was 1946!…..and we lost him all too soon!),  who wrote a book by that title, today’s post requires a trip back to his era!  In the 70′s  and 80′s when Lewis wrote most of his  dozens of great books, (Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You  -  Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself  -  They Tore My Heart Out and Stomped that Sucker To Death  -  Shoot Low Boys, Their Riding Shetland Ponies  -  Chilli Dogs Always Bark At Night  and I Haven’t Understood Anything Since 1962!!)  Do yourself a favor and buy a book or two, you’ll end up buying them all!  If you live north of the Mason Dixon Line, don’t bother, they won’t be funny to you!!!  O.K. enough of my love affair with Lewis and his writing, what on earth is this blog entry about?????

 

This morning by good buddy Zak Arias posted a report on the new Fuji X100T, and update to the current X100s camera.   As always, an excellent report from Zak,  http://dedpxl.com/fuji-x100t-first-look/   One of the new features in the camera is a film simulation called Classic Chrome.  Now this where the story get interesting!  If you go back and visit the history of film emulsions, you would find that a massive, all powerful company called Eastman Kodak had the film that most professionals loved dearly called Kodachrome.  It rained supreme until an upstart little Japanese company called Fujifilm introduced a film called Velvia!  Since that day the photography world has never been the same.  If you had been a photographer in those days you would remember what an intense war was waged between these two companies. I’m not going to declare a winner, but Kodak, for all practical purposes, no longer exists, certainly not as it did back then.  Now three decades later Fuji introduces a camera that allows the photographer to shoot in the color palette of a film they helped become extinct!

 

Now, I’m not being critical, I actually loved Kodachrome and I miss it, and look forward to shooting some images with it’s lovely color palette!  I think it’s just an interesting “historical” turn of events!

 

So the question that always comes when new products are released by Fuji, “Will you buy it?”  Not sure.  I love the current X100s and I’m not sure I need the upgrades, though it is very tempting and I would love to have the X100 series in Black, and the “T” is available in black, so who knows, maybe a sum of money will drop out of the sky!  What I do want is the new lens that was finally “officially” announced as well.  The new 50-140 f 2.8  (equivalent to 80-210 focal length with the APS-C sensor).  the new lens has a tripod collar, takes 72mm filters, and is “claimed” to be one of the sharpest lens of this focal length ever.  It will sell for $1,600. which is about right compared to Nikon and Canon’s similar lenses for their full frame cameras.  The 55-200 is extremely sharp and is nice and compact so I will keep it too, but a fast medium telephoto zoom was a big hole in the system.

 

 

 

The new lens, based on Fuji’s record on optics , should be spectacular, sure hope so. One of the most important features in internal focus and zooming so the lens does not extend in physical size.  Fuji also announced a new 56mm f 1.2 APD, which allows the lens to get even softer bokeh and vignette for portrait photographers!

 

Exciting times today, some of the best of yesterday, works for me, and as Lewis said, “There’s no such thing as being too Southern.”

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

1 week, 3 days ago 8

 

Welcome to the First Annual Pilgrim’s Picks!  Please let me set the ground rules!  These are in my opinion some of the top photography products for the year 2014!  Key phrase my opinion!  Am I qualified to make these choices?  that’s for you to decide, but I have been a working professional photographer for 45 years, worked as a Nikon tech rep for 11 years, have studied gear pretty much as hobby for ever, and talk to photographers constantly so I know what  lot of other folks think too.  Doesn’t hurt that many of the people I talk to are the top shooters out there, so yes, I think I can make these suppositions!!  Ah, but am I biased?  I don’t think I am, I certainly have preferences, but I believe they’re based on genuine information!  So here goes!

 

First, the Best All Around Digital Single Lens Reflex bodies.  Best all around means for general photography not sports action or specialized uses.  I feel the new Nikon D810 and the Canon 5D Mark III are a dead even tie!  Of course the D810 is the resolution king, but the 5D Mark II is a better all rounder and a great video camera.

 

 

Now we move to the new hot category in the industry the High End Mirror-less interchangeable lens camera.  I believe the Fuji X-T1 is the current best camera on the market for many reason, and  I proved it with my wallet!  My choice or second place is the terrific Olympus OM-D1, which I tested for Olympus and was very impressed!  In third place is the new Lumix GH4 which is a great camera that does stunning 4K video and has access to a great series of Micro 4/3rd lenses, just like the Olympus too!  How about Sony and the slick new A-7 and A-7r?  I have some experience with the Sony, and I have a pretty strong opinion about it, it is a great step forward, but I think it needs a couple more things!  The jpegs are not nearly as  nice as the RAW files from these cameras, if you are a jpeg shooter it’s disappointing.  The other issue is the lack of a full lens line at this time, of course eventually, (not sure how eventually), this will be solved.  the Sony has great potential and I bet, it may certainly make the 2015 list, maybe!!??  It’s up to you Sony!

 

 

In the High End Compact Mirror-less category we have three terrific cameras,  In first place is the Fuji X100s, called by Zak Arias, “the best camera I’ve ever owned….”  I don’t disagree with him!  The Sony RX-1s is a great camera but pretty costly, and the Nikon Coolpix A is a third place finisher, and a great very compact camera.

 

 

In the Category of Single Lens Reflex lenses the winners in each category are; (1) the Canon 24-105  f 4 IS lens, (2) Nikon 14-24 f 2.8 AF-S  Wide angle zoom is simply the best in the works, many Canon shooters have converted to use on their cameras too!  In the telephoto zoom category we have another tie, both the (3) Canon 70-200 f 2.8 IS II  and the (4) Nikon 70-200 AF-S VR II f 2.8 are both stellar to say the least!!!!

 

 

 

For me three longer telephoto lenses are standouts, (1) the Nikon 200-400 AF-S VR II f 4 lens is one of the best and most affordable long zooms. (2) The Canon 500mm F4 IS is one of the sharpest Canon long lenses. (3)  Nikon’s 400mm AF-S VR f 2.8 is not only fast, but extremely sharp!  Warning, all of these lenses are very expensive.

 

 

 

One of the reasons I went with the Fuji X System is the extraordinary, ever growing,  selection of truly great glass.   The Fuji lenses are very well made, and they offer a good selection of fast single focal lenses. I  red starred the ones I have below and included the Lens Road Map from Fuji.

 

 

This is the Road map for the Fuji lenses they have now and that are coming later this year and in 2015.

 

 

You guys know how  much I depend on a great support system and my choices are below;  (1) My favorite legs are the Really Right Stuff TVC 33 Versa tripod, (2) My ball head of choice is the Really Right Stuff BH-55-LR, (3 & 4) L Brackets from Really Right Stuff, (5)  Kirk’s fabulous Low Pod for shooting close to the found and their fabulous, (6) focusing rail FR-2!

 

 

 

O.K. so you have to have some way to carry and transport it all!  My favorites are (1) Think Tank Airport Security Airport 2.0, my favorite rolling bag,, (2) The Guru Gear Batafle 22L backpack, (3) the wonderful Think Tank Airport Essentials backpack and the (5) Low Pro Flipside Airport 10L AW, smaller and perfect for the Fuji system!

 

 

 

One last item is how to carry your memory cards and extra filters, especially the large split neutral density filters.  (1) I use the Filter Hive by Mindshift for the filters, and both the Think Tank Pocket Rocket, (2) and the Guru Gear Tembo card holder!

 

 

 

So there you have it, the First Annual Pilgrim’s Picks, but then, just my opinions, would love to hear your thoughts, really, post your thoughts below!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

As soon as I finished this entry I checked the mail and found this clothing catalog, check out ht camera, the X100s!!!  Wow, my picks got out fast!!!!!