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1 year ago 6




I had a question few days ago about how I pack the gear in the last blog post. The purpose for a two small bag system is portability, and always having the essential gear in the lowest possible weight. The bags provide excellent protection and yet are easy to carry.  The main bag, above weighs in at 7.5 lbs, the lens bag below at  7.4 lbs.  Each lens is held in a Tamrac Goblin lens back and the body wrapped in micro fiber Tiger clothes for Kinetronic.  The main bag is the “speed” bag with fast lenses.  The Lens bag is the zoom bag and the close-up bag, the XF10-24 cover the wide end (15-36), the XF18-135 for the 28-200 range.  The Fujifilm XF90 is a fast 135mm equivalent and with diopters and an extension tube, serves as a macro lens with good working distance.  Of course a spare body and longer glass will reside in a separate backpack.



In addition to those items I have Zeiss photo wipes and some micro fiber cloths.  So there you have it!  Hope that helps answer that question!




the pilgrim

1 year ago 7



Through the years I have, always, really enjoyed doing close-up work.  During the Great American Photography Weekend days I had the wonderful opportunity work with and learn from some of the greats in close-up work; John Shaw, Larry West and Cliff Zenor.  Later I learned more from Mike Moats, Jack Graham, Charles Needles, the late, great, Nancy Rotenberg and many others.  I have always owned a number of Macro/Micro lenses and when I switched to the Fuji X-System that was one of my disappointments, they only had one, the 60mm Macro.  It is a tack sharp lens of the 90mm equiv. focal length so it has been enough to get by with some other tricks of the trade, to be discussed soon!


My favorite Macro lens of all time was the legendary Nikkor 200mm f 4 AF lens.  When Fuji announced they were going to make a 120mm f 2.8 Macro my prayers were answered!  I’ve learned that Fuji will not put out a so so lens, so I knew this new lens was going be the long Macro I needed and wanted desperately.  Then the announcement came that the Macro would be an 80mm not a 120mm! I was seriously bummed!!!  I will wait and see how the 80mm f 2.8 pans out in 2017, but in the meantime I have to find a work around.  Let me explain.


Macro lenses (or as Nikon calls them Micro lenses) generally have been made in three focal length ranges;  50mm -60mm, 100mm – 105mm, and the longer versions 150mm – 200mm.  They all do the same thing but the longer the focal length the more working distance you have from the front of the lens to the subject.  For many subject this is not a big deal, for insects, amphibians and reptiles (especially poisonous ones!!!), it is a big deal!


Since, for the moment, Fuji is not addressing the long version of a macro lens, I have gone to work finding an alternative. I had a Nikon 200mm Micro, but sadly sold it on the news that the 120mm was coming form Fuji.  I’m looking for a used 200mm IF-ED the AI-S  manual focus version, that might work for the Fuji.  I also have played around with the Canon 500D Diopter (and exceptional diopter) on both the 50-140 and 100-200.  That along with the Fuji automatic extension tubes, work very well with them!



The image below was made with the 100-400 and the Canon 500D Diopter!  The working distance was 19 inches, quite good!



I wanted another option and I think I may have it!  I love the 90mm f 2 lens, it is arguably the sharpest lens Fuji makes.  It already focuses very close, but with the Nikon  (long discontinued) 5T and 6 T diopters it can get you very close indeed!  Below are some of my experiments with combinations of the 90mm and various other close-up devices, this is by no means exhaustive, as you can combine, extension tubes, diopters and teleconverters to get much closer.  Starting with the razor sharp 90mm the combinations and effects are almost endless!



….and if you want to really get close…..



So the bottom line is I’m still every so slightly upset with Fuji for not making the 120mm, but I can’t stay mad too long since they did give us the 90mm, 50-140 and the 100-400, and the X PRO 2 and X-T2, o.k. all is forgiven!  …. but please think about a long Macro……. someday!  Anybody got a mint condition Nikkor 200mm Micro f 4 IF-ED mnaual focus, give me a call!!!!




the pilgrim

1 year ago 8



It’s a never ending battle to figure out how to have just what you need, when you need it, without having have a 400 pound motorized rolling cart!!!!  The trick is to decide what you think you will need to do the work you need to do, and keep it in bite size portions.  I’ve tried backpacks, but I never wear them in the field, but pull what I need out and leave the rest in the vehicle.    When you get a mile away, sure enough, what you needed was back in the SUV!


Above is my “current experiment”.  I love the very small Think Tank Retrospective  5 bags, I have two, one with the leather cover and trim and one plain.  Makes it easier to tell which has what inside!!


Here is my plan, I find I most often shoot in one of two modes, (personals styles), I either prefer fast single focal length lenses, or I find myself doing work that is easier with zooms.  Since Fuji has superb examples of both in the X System I have a small two bag system to cover both approaches.


Bag One:  The leather trimmed Retrospective 5 contains a 16mm f 1.4 (24mm equiv.), a 56mm f 1.2 (85mm equiv.), and a Fuji X PRO 2 body with the 35mm f 2  (50mm equiv.)  That cover the all important 24mm to 85mm range all with fast lenses.  *These also happen to be three of the very best Fuji XF lenses!


Bag Two:  The other regular Retrospective 5 contains a full set of zooms and one specialty lens.  the 10-24 f 4 OIS lens (15-36 mm equiv.),  a 18-135 f 3.5-5.6 (27-200 equiv.) and lastly my favorite Fuji lens,  the 90mm f 2 (135mm equip.)  This lens doubles as a macro lens with Nikon 5T and 6T diopters and automatic extension tubes, and it is arguably Fuji’s sharpest lens!!!!!


So when I arrive on site,  I can decide which route to go and grab one small bag and have ell the focal lengths I might need!  The super long 100-400 is always in the backpack, when I really need to reach out optically!  I almost never walk any real distance carrying it!   It is a trunk lens!


I am anxious to get a production X-T2, but until then, I love the X Pro 2 and it is giving me wonderful results!


I will try this system for a while and let you know how it’s going!




the pilgrim

1 year ago 6



Those of you that read this blog know how much I love football, in all it’s forms.  If any two teams, be they pee wee league, high school, college or pro are playing I’m wanting to watch and relish in the game I love so much.  I played football in High School and would have loved to have had the talent to go further, but sadly I didn’t.  I did the next best thing and covered, as a photographer,  football at all levels, the zenith being a short stint as the Washington Redskins official photographer.


Every year, for many years, I have set aside the Saturday night of the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to sit and watch every minute of these players receive the highest award football can offer, to be elected and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I have heard the stories of the lifetimes behind some of my greatest football heroes, many of whom I photographed from the sidelines, or interviewed face to face for the Richland today magazine.  I can remember most of the inductees, except for those from the 30′, and 40’s.  Sherelene and I have been side by side for almost every Super Bowl Sunday!


As much as I love the game, I found a theme running through the ceremonies last night that runs through the ceremonies every year  for all these years, faith and family.  It is wonderful to know that with the millions of people that have played this game only 300 are in the Hall of Fame.  What makes these 300 people so special that they attained such a high place in their profession?  Rarely does anyone ever walk to the podium to receive that honor that they don’t talk about how much their family, their mother and father, their brothers and sisters, grandparents and aunts and uncles influenced them.



One of my favorite of the players inducted last night was Brett Favre.  I have always identified with Brett, in that he played the game with a passion and sheer love for the game and the people he played the game with.  I know deep in my heart that I have been a photographer with same love for the art and craft I practice and the people it has brought into my life!  I am not suggesting I have excelled at my craft as Brett has, but I’ve attacked it with the same passion.   Something very, very special happened for me last night, even though I have admired and appreciated Brett Favre as an athlete and player, I’ve often wondered if he was a man of faith?  I had never heard him give God the credit for any of his many accomplishment.  It would be truly sad for  me to think he did not know where all his success had come from.  Tears filled my eyes when he opened his remarks with, “Thank you Canton, thank you Hall of Fame, thank you Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior.”  What a wonderful gift for me!  I can now know Brett as a great player, a man of passion, a hero and a brother in our Lord!


Tony Dungy, Orlando Pace, Marvin Harrison Eddie DeBartolo Jr and others all attested to the value of family and faith in their career and more importantly their lives. It was, as all inductions are, a night to celebrate the most important things in life, Faith, Family, friends, and our passions!


I thought after the evening was over, that no man or woman can ever achieve anything of lasting value apart from those four things, Faith in God, the love for and of a great family, the treasure of true friends, and a passion for whatever you hold dear.


Please allow me to plead with you, that if these are not the central focus of your life, please pray about it, I beg you to think about, wrestle with it and decide to make this your path, your goal, the purpose of your life.  You and I will never go to Canton and give that talk, we will never have a bust made of our face to sit in the Hall of Fame, but we can strive to be Hall of Fame believers, Hall of Fame husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and grandparents, and Hall of Fame friends.  We can give all our strength and energy to what we do, what we deem worth our time and effort, our professions and passions.  That’s the Hall of Fame I want some day to be inducted into.  I hope we get their together and go in,  in the same class!




the pilgrim