Recent Posts
6 months, 1 week ago 2

 

Sorry about that, was on the road all day today driving up to Akron, our base, for the Northern Ohio Fall Color and Amish workshop with the great Jack Graham!  Wow, what beautiful country and so different!  Above a set of phone booths in Carmel, Ohio, a little different!  We visited a hardware store with the most eclectic stock I’ve ever seen, including the huge assortment of cookie cutters below!  These folks really make the cookies…..

 

 

I can already tell this will be a week of great patterns and colors as in the barn door below!!!

 

 

Thanks for your prayers and  great support, I will post as we shoot through out the week, thanks for joining me and God bless!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

Photo Note:  Fuji X-E1 and X100s.

6 months, 2 weeks ago 27

One of my time tested ground rules for doing successful work is “settle on the gear!”   Find the gear that works for you, test it thoroughly, make sure it is capable of making exemplary images, then just go out and use it!!!!!  For over two years that is exactly what I’ve been doing and I now know what stays, and what goes!  I am maintaining two gear systems, each for a very good and specific reason and use!

 

Above is my travel, walking, general all around system for 90% of my work.  I’ve found the Fuji X System to be almost faultless!  It continues to evolve and I will evolve my system as it grows, but as of today, it is my go to system for most of what I do.  Keep in mind I no longer do hardly any action or sports.  This system is perfect for the nature, outdoor, travel, Americana, and landscape work I do.  The above bag is the Think Tank Street Walker (the smallest one) filled with the bodies and lenses above it weighs 14 pounds.  It consists of;

 

Fuji X-E-1 body with 18-55 f 2.8-4 OIS lens  (27-83 f 2.8-4 equiv.)  Really Right Stuff “L” bracket and grip.

Fuji X100s camera with fixed 23 f2 lens  (35mm f 2 equiv.)   Really Right Stuff “L” bracket and grip.

14mm f 2.8 Wide Angle  (21mm f 2.8 equiv.)

35mm f 1.4 lens  (53mm f1.4 equiv.)

60mm Micro f 2.4  (90 mm f 2.4 equiv.)

55-200 f 3.5-4.8 OIS telephoto zoom  (83-300 equiv.)

8mm Rokinon Fisheye f 2.8

Electronic Cable release with built in introvelometer

Polarizers for all lenses, Nikon 4T & 5T, Canon 250D Diopter

10mm auto extension tube

Batteries and chargers

Induro CT-214 Tripod with RRS BH-40LR ball head

Kirk Mini tripod legs with RRS BH-30LR ball head

 

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System number two weighing in at 27 lbs for the back pack (The Lowepro 300 AW Trekker) and 10 lbs for the Lightware Long Lens bag holding my manual focus Nikkor 400mm f 3.5 lens and TC-14 B  Teleconverter.  This is my “trunk system” that comes out when I can shoot close to the vehicle, or when I need  extreme high resolution!  The Nikon D800 and D700 are two of the finest cameras I’ve  ever shot in the Nikon system, I also love the D4 but it is simply to heavy to carry around, in spite of it’s fantastic performance!  This system consists of:

 

Nikon D800 body with the 80-200 f 4 manual focus Nikkor   Really Right Stuff L” bracket 

Nikon D700 body  Really Right Stuff “L” bracket and grip.

24mm Nikkor f 2.8 AI-S manual focus lens

55mm Micro Nikkor f 2.8 AI-S manual focus lens

25-50 Nikkor AI-S zoom f4 wide angle zoom –  manual focus lens

105 Micro Nikon AI-S f 2.8  manual focus lens

75-150 Nikon Series E  f 3.5 zoom lens

200mm Micro Nikkor f4 AF lens

400mm Nikkor IF-ED f 3.5 telephoto lens

Electronic Wireless Cable release with built in introvelometer

Polarizers for all lenses

Kenko Auto extension tube

Batteries and chargers

Induro CT-314 Tripod with RRS BH-55LR ball head

Kirk Mini tripod legs with RRS BH-30LR bull head

 

I can anticipate some of the questions you may have,  so let me deal with some of them now!

 

1.  Why manual focus lenses?   Actually several reasons, I love the old school feel of using the throwback lenses.  Additionally they are exceptionally sharp and  I know if the focus is off it’s my fault!, since I don’t do action, auto focus is not a big advantage for me.  These lenses, not being auto focus, can be made much more rugged, with smooth racings in the focusing rings. For landscape work I really enjoy the focus markings that makes doing hyper focal distance much easier!  Finally These particular lenses are among the most legendary Nikon glass ever made and all still works wonderfully even with the super Hi Res D800!  All modern camera’s auto focus systems, from time to time, have glitches, every brand, so I find manual focusing more confidence inspiring.

 

2. Do you still own any Nikon auto focus glass?  Yes the 16-35 f4, the new 24-120 f4, the 85mm f 1.8, and the 70-300 AF-S VR f 3.5-5.6, plus my 200 Micro Nikkor is an AF lens as well.  I have these available when I have a need for modern auto focus glass.

 

3.  Do you feel you give up anything by using the Fuji X system as your principle system?  The D800 has more resolution and bigger files which can be both good, and bad, depending on the situation.  No very long glass is currently available for the Fuji X system, though a Nikon adapter lets me use some of my Nikon lenses on that system’s bodies. Fuji needs a super wide zoom, and it is coming in November or December, at least according to their lens road map, the 10-24 (15-36 equiv.) will round out the system very nicely.  I would love to see a 90mm or 105 micro with f 2 speed, so we will see what happens in the 2014!  For now I have that in the Nikon system.

 

4.  Do you feel bad about using Nikon less after all these years using nothing but Nikon?  Let me put it this way, I have spent well over $150,000. on Nikon gear over the last 43 years, I still own a lot of it, and still use it.  I worked for Nikon for almost eleven years and faithfully represented them helping thousands of photographers invest in, and use their equipment.   Many of my best friends in the industry are still working for Nikon.  I’m proud of my relationship with this fine company, but I’m 67 years old and can no longer lug around the equipment I could 20 years ago.  I love the craft, and don’t intend to stop pushing the shutter release until my dying breath!  The excellent Fuji System is allowing me to continue that joyous journey!  Who knows, maybe some day Nikon will build a lighter weight, fully pro grade system, and then I may have to rethink things!!  For now, I’m happy owning both, and using them when it is photographically appropriate!

 

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m head to Ohio with my dear buddy, and wonderful photographer friend, Jack Graham to try and get some folks excited about using their gear!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

Photo Notes;  Top Image: Nikon D800 with 55 mm Micro Nikkor   F16 @ 10 seconds

Bottom Shot:  Fuji X100s f16 @ 4 seconds

6 months, 2 weeks ago 20

I”m a member of the inaugural class of the baby boomers, I was born in February of 1946,  As such I”m among the leaders of the coming parade of retires!  I take my responsibilities seriously so I would like to share with those that will soon join me, some thoughts three months in!!!!

 

Jump in!!  The water is fine!  I do however have some strong recommendations!

 

1.  Life is not about you, so, get on with finding a way to put an emphasis on others!!!

Many of us had jobs that put us in positions of power or prestige, the day you retire that evaporates!  If you are still holding on to that to make you feel o.k. overnight a huge void will descend on you!  Don’t let that happen, start now redirecting the emphasis of your life!

Ask God for His help, He already has a plan for your life, maybe it’s time to ask Him what His plans are for you!  Life is actually better without the power of the old job!!!!!  Grace beats power every time!

 

2.  Learn to relax!!!!  Most of your life there have been schedules to meet, planes to catch, emails to answer, calls to return, and reports to file, ( lots of reports)!!!!  Thankfully a lot of that is about to end, or at least slow way, way down!  So, if you’re addicted to busy, embrace relaxing!  Don’t get me wrong, retirement is still busy, just not with someone looking over your shoulder!!!!!   Learn to embrace being free from all the old tug a wars of the working life!  You’ll be surprised how quickly you feel better!

 

3.  Learn playing with the toys you have!!!  Part of the working life is, sadly, the acquisition of more and more toys!  As a photographer, I couldn’t live without the newest, latest technology, now I’m learning I can enjoy my craft without buying every new toy to come along!!!  I started “stocking up”,  with  my key needs before “retirement day” arrived.  Since I have less to spend it’s o.k., I was prepared!!!!  

 

4.  Spend more “quality” time with family and friends!  When I was still with Nikon I often thought my relationships felt like drive by shootings, now I’m experiencing the real joy of a relaxed relationship with Sherelene, the kids and grand kids!  When you think about it, they were the ones you worked to benefit, now you can benefit them with your time and attention!

 

5.  Make a list of goals.  I would suggest they include, things you want to do, see, learn, understand, and experience.  Don’t forget to start by asking God how you can serve Him!!!  Write a mission statement, mine is simple;

 

“Give God every day, try to leave every person and situation better off than before I came into their lives or state of affairs.  Always remember, we are all God’s children, and they He gave His Son for each of them!  Help me to forgive as freely as I’ve been forgiven!  I hope to bring smiles and laughter into the lives of others!  May God get the glory for anything good that comes out of my life!”

 

6.  Be thankful!!!  You have probably lived an incredible life, be thankful for it!

 

7.  Take some naps, have some ice cream, shoot some great images, and live a full life every day you wake up on this side of the grass!!!!

 

Enjoy your retirement……

 

Blessings,

 

The pilgrim

6 months, 2 weeks ago 3

Not from this trip, but I still love what the X100s can do with single color filters!!!!!

 

I got back from the Black Hills and the Badlands at 1:00 a.m. this morning, it’s great to be home!  I have to say my week in South Dakota was wonderful, while I missed home, I had a wonderful shooting week!  I took what I was afraid might be a big risk on this trip, I went with only my Fuji system, no Nikons!!!!  My health has been so much better not carrying a heavy system, and I simply wanted to have fun. Let me me be very clear, I love my Nikon bodies and lenses, I’ve always had complete confidence in them, I just have gotten to where I really suffer if I carry all 25 pounds in a shoulder bag or back pack!  In a way, this was the ultimate test of the Fuji gear, would I come home and say I made a mistake???  I won’t keep you in suspense, I had one of the best shooting weeks of my life!  Would the Nikons have done well, I’m sure they would have, but they still would have weighed almost 25 pounds,  the 7 pounds of the Fuji X system was a lot better for my back and energy level!

 

What do I gain with the Fuji System:

 

The fun factor, I simply really enjoy shooting with it!

 

The  color in the files, Fuji really has a very good handle on color, and I get spectacular jpegs right out of the camera!

 

The lens quality is spectacular!!!  (admittedly the Nikkors are also pretty wonderful!!) The good news is I don’t  loose anything with the Fujinon glass.

 

What is the downside?

 

The D800 would have made bigger, more information rich, files, and that’s about it!!!!!

 

For such a small difference my back is thanking me for my decision……

 

Here are some of my favorite shots!

 

And my favorite again……..

 

 

All in all, I’m very happy with the outcome of the experiment!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim