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9 months, 2 weeks ago 6

Today’s message is short and sweet!  Everything you are looking for, every question you have about life, every problem you face, every fear that chases you.  The answers are in the Word of God.  I’m sure you spend time in the Word, but if you don’t, please take a simple challenge, try to read a few chapters a day and let the Holy Spirit reveal the rich truth you will find!  I am amazed at how personally God speaks to me about whatever is on my mind!  The simple truth is He loves you more than you could ever know, and He knows you better than you know yourself!


Give Him a chance to speak to you, you will never be the same!




the pilgrim

9 months, 2 weeks ago 18


The 5 reasons I wouldn’t go back!!!!


1.  My back doesn’t hurt anymore!


Almost everything in my bag, is at least half the weight of my former full frame DSLR system.  Generally almost every body and lens takes up half the space!  So far, I see no reason to believe that my Fuji bodies and lenses are not just as well made, and rugged as the bigger DSLR system.  Frankly my Fujinon lenses “feel” more rugged than many of the plastic lenses of this modern day!  My old (3 to 4 decades old), Nikkors have that same old world sweet smoothness!  I still use them on the X-T1 with an adapter and get fantastic results!  The wide angles are not of much use because of the APS-C sensors 1.5 factor, but the long glass and midrange zooms get a lot more interesting!  The Nikkor manual focus Micro lenses are insane!



2.  I simply love the operational design of the Fuji X System cameras!  


I grew up with a “real shutter speed knob” and a “real aperture ring”!  Mechanical controls,  (Now I know these mechanical controls make electronic changes, but they operate “mechanically!!!”)  I like the ISO knob on the XT-1 (also a “mechanical” knob), and actually like that it locks!  Some have complained that it could be faster without a lock, and while that is certainly true, I like getting and keeping the ISO I set in the first place!  I fired my D700 the other day and was shocked at how loud and vibration prone it was, I then picked up the XT-1 and fired them side by side.  The difference was remarkable, the XT-I was quieter than a Leica, and with no mirror slap vibration (no mirror!).


3.  Cameras are for making images, and I’m taking the best in my 45 year career!


This one is purely subjective, but I can tell you with a completely straight face that my work has immeasurably improved, both in technical and aesthetic terms!!!!  I think the biggest reason is that I’m like a kid again in respect to my excitement and desire to go out and make images!!!  A big part of that is covered in point # 4!!!  It probably helps that I’m retired!!!!!


4.  Features I didn’t have in a DSLR!


Working with the Fuji X System and in particular, the XT-1, several features have made me a big time believer in mirror-less;


A.  While the EVF of the XT-1 is not quiet like looking through a D4, in some ways it’s better!  It’s brighter in low light, ( it’s a video image and it can brighten up so you can see better!), and it shows all your menu items settings actual affects when you half press the shutter release, yes you read that right, you see what the resulting image will look like!  If that were not enough, immediately after you make the image, it appears in the viewfinder exactly as it will appear later on your computer screen!  You can turn it off if you like, but I love it!  One more thing for manual shooters you can select a histogram to be live in the viewfinder as you make exposure adjustments!


And this is the “BIG” one!  Focus peaking has made manual focusing easier and more accurate than any other system I’ve ever used!  Now you can enjoy using many of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of older LEGACY manual focus lenses!!!!  It has breathed new life into Nikkor Micro lenses, moderate zooms, and especially, long glass!!  Imagine having a 600mm, f 3.5, that focuses close!!!  I’ve got it, and it didn’t cost $12,000.  (the old 400mm f 3.5 IF-ED manual focus Nikkor lens)


B.  You can set a menu item that allows you to see “real time” the depth of field as you stop down the aperture ring!!!!  No more depth-of-field preview buttons and impossibly dark viewfinders!  You would be surprised what a big deal this is after you use it!


C.  When you dial in compensation, ( yes Virginia, it’s a metal knob with click stops!!! (conveniently right next to your shooting thumb!!), you can see the affect it has on exposure, just how the image will look.  I shoot Aperture Priority and tailor exposure with the compensation dial, it works great.  By-the-way, the Fuji’s are like every other camera I’ve used in years, for my taste .3 or .7 minus compensation is needed to get to what I think is “affective exposure”, who knows what correct is!!!!????  The exposure comp dial is = or – 3 stops!


D.  My favorite feature is film type bracketing.  The Fuji’s allow you to pick three film simulations and then every time you make a shot, it processes three separate files in those film types!!!  Choices are;  PROVIA (standard color), ASTIA (soft, great skin tones, and rich color), VELVIA (high contrast palette of richly saturated colors), PRO NEG HIGH (great for outdoor portraits, slightly higher contrast), PRO NEG STANDARD ( great subtle skin tones, perfect for studio portraits under controlled lighting), MONOCHROME, (standard, full range, beautiful Black & Whites),  MONOCHROME YELLOW FILTER, (slightly higher contrast), MONOCHROME RED FILTER (higher contrast-great for spectacular landscape with blue skies and clouds), MONOCHROME GREEN FILTER ( good for outdoor portraits), SEPIA (sepia toned monochrome images.)   Most of the time I have mine set to PROVIA, VELVIA, AND MONOCHROME.  I do also use, ASTIA and MONOCHOME RED FILTER, pretty often!  90% of the time the Monochromes need almost no post!  They look spectacular!



5.  Even cutting my camera bag weight in half, I haven’t give up the image quality I crave!


I’ve selected some images, some of my favorites from this past year, all with various Fuji X cameras and Fuji XF lenses and a few with Nikkor manual focus adapted glass: ( I will give the technical data!)


Fuji X100s   ISO 1600  1/12th of a second handheld   In camera Monochroime!



Old Service Station Canonsburg Village   Fuji X-E1  180-55  ISO 200



Colored Pencils   –  Fuji X-E1  60mm Micro lens ISO 800



Licence plates on wood wall   –  Fuji X-E1   18-55    ISO 1600



Model T in Sprague, WA  Fuji X-T1    55-200  ISO 400



Fold in the earth Palouse WA  Fuji X-T1  Nikon 300mm f 4.5 IF-ED     ISO 800




Any downside??  Yes, if Fuji is reading this, (and I’m told they do!!!), here is my wish list:


1.  Firmware update to give 9, 7, & 5 stops of exposure bracketing. (for us HDR guys) You can add in improved focusing speed with the 60mm Macro!


2.  A 100mm Macro lens that goes 1:1 !!!!????  I know I’m pushing my luck, but a 150mm would be even better!  The current 60mm is spectacularly sharp, but won’t go 1:1 and focuses painfully slow compared to all other FX lenses.  It does play nice with Diopters though!

I sure hope rumors of a fast 90mm are true!


3.  Almost as good as a longer Macro lens would be a set of three Automatic Extension tubes, this is very doable!!!!  Those and the 56 f 1.2 would be a dream come true!!!  Some third party ones exist but they are very poorly finished out!


4.  Make sure the soon to come 120-400 is a constant aperture f 4 or no slower than f 4.5,  PLEASE no variable aperture!!!!  This is the lens that will really complete the Fuji XF line, don’t release it until it is drop dead spectacular!!!!!!  Lots of folks think this is a lens you can’t make as fantastic as your others, I’m betting they’re wrong!!!  By-the-way, I would be happy to test the prototype for you in Yellowstone this fall!!!!  Hint, hint!!!


5.  Ask the battery guys what can be done to beef up the battery life!!??  While on that subject, thank you so much for not making third party batteries incompatible, others have done this, and it’s not playing nice!  At least good reserves are purchasable reasonably, and they have given me good service!  Since they are small, it’s easy to carry a half dozen extras!


6.  While I’m bragging on you, thanks for handling the few complaints you’ve gotten the right way!  You stepped up to the plate, admitted mistakes, and made repairs or adjustments, quickly. Three cheers for treating the customer like you really care, which I believe you actually do!!!!!!


7.  Re-release the 55-200 in a slightly heavier build quality with a tripod collar, don’t touch the optics, they’re great right now!!!!  Not holding my breath on this one, but Canon did that with their hot selling 75-300 and it has been very well received!  People are willing to pay a premium for more structural strength, I would be too!


8.  Please don’t feel the need to go full frame, the size and extraordinary quality of the X Trans Sensor brought you to the dance, my advice is keep dancing with her!!!  She is, after all, beautiful!!




the pilgrim



9 months, 2 weeks ago 2

What makes a great photographer?



There are four main components that make up a great photographer:


  1. Technical knowledge. This includes the foundations of photography such as light and posing, knowledge in the basics such as shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, and incorporates the technical theory and know-how in making a great image.
  2. Technical follow-through. This is the physical application of the technical knowledge above. It’s knowing how to set the shutter speed, aperture, how to focus, meter, and so on.
  3. Artistry and creativity. This is the artistic expression of the photographer, and includes composition, lines, mood, feeling, storytelling, and so on.
  4. Personality. We all know that you can be technically the greatest photographer, but if you want to take pictures of people, then you must have the right personality for it. You must make people feel comfortable, warm and welcome in front of the camera and therefore it’s a big part of the equation in the discussion of people photography.



The list above is from an excellent article by Bryan Caporicci on Thomas Menk’s Fuji Scoop It site, and he wrote a great article about the on coming mirror less revolution, but that is for another entry, I want to deal with the four issued above!


Number One is a given.  You have to understand and be able to use the basic principles if you want to become a great image maker!


Number Two is vital.  It truly is the vital application of those principles that will allow you to make the images you want to make!  Once you fully understand the controls, you can solve any of the problems you will have to work through.  Photography is problem solving and knowledge and application are the two key


Number Three artistry and creativity.  This is where the rubber meats the road!  Artistic expression is you, how you see the world and how you apply your knowledge of composing, storytelling, and expressing your feelings in your work.  Artistry is art, skill, talent, brilliance, and flair, all rolled into one!


Personality is how you show up  in your images!!   Bryan is referring in this one about photographing people.  He is right, but your personality also factors into how you approach all subjects!  While your personality doesn’t have much affect on an old rusting car, it does have a big affect on how you photograph.  I know I’m loosing you, but trust me there is a point in here somewhere!!!!!!  I believe your outlook is vital to how you see.  Are you open to new ideas, do you have a strong work ethic?  Why does any of this matter?  Because your willingness to stay on top of the process will result in your staying “in the process”.  Even in art, sticking with it, can determine how far we go!  If your personality is to stay positive and never give up, you will make the journey with a lot more success!


Thanks Bryan for a very interesting article filled with great information.  Here is a link to his article:




the pilgrim

9 months, 3 weeks ago 0



In late September (23rd-28th) we are going to do a tour of an fantastic part of America, The Badlands, Custer State Park, The Black Hills, and Spearfish Canyon!  Last year I was honored to be the keynote address presenter at the Black Hills Shootout, which was a blast by-the-way!  I went early to spend a few days in the Badlands and then toured around the region and found a wealth of great things to shoot!  The Badlands is so much like the Palouse, just brown, instead of green, a graphic feast for composing interesting images!  The area all around the Badlands is a great region for sharpening your landscape skills.




Custer State Park has the largest herds of Bison in America, and the Black Hills are unique and beautiful!




We will be in the region just in time for their beautiful fall colors!



And the water scenics in Spearfish Canyon are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever shot!






This small group workshop (limited to 10) will be a wonderful trip, and we have a few spots open, so if interested, give me a call and I will fill you in on the details!  (606)-528-6119




the pilgrim